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Final Sentencing Set For Man Who Claimed To Be Missing Aurora Boy

(CBS/AP) --  A federal judge has scheduled final sentencing December 15 for an Ohio man who falsely claimed to be a long-missing Aurora child.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett announced the virtual hearing in a notice Wednesday. Barrett early this year told 25-year-old Brian Michael Rini he must serve two years.

In April of 2019, Rini was spotted April 3 wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky. Police there said he claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared in 2011 at the age of six.

Authorities said Rini told them he escaped captors who sexually abused him. But federal authorities said they were suspicious after he refused to be fingerprinted. DNA testing quickly revealed his true identity.

Brian Michael Rini
Brian Michael Rini is charged with identity theft and lying to the FBI, for allegedly claiming to be missing Aurora boy Timmothy Pitzen. (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff)

Rini was released from a state prison in March of 2019 after serving more than a year on burglary and vandalism charges. Prison records show he was accused of making up stories during his time there.

When confronted with the DNA results, Rini said he'd watched a story about Timmothy on ABC's "20/20" and wanted to get away from his own family, the FBI said. Authorities said he twice earlier portrayed himself in Ohio as a juvenile victim of sex trafficking.

Timmothy Pitzen
Timmothy Pitzen was 6 years old when he disappeared in 2011. An age-progressed image from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, released in 2018, shows how he would look at age 13. (Source: Aurora Police/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Timmothy has been missing since 2011, when his mother was found dead in Rockford, after pulling the six-year-old out of school and taking him on a trip to Wisconsin. He would be 15 years old today.

Last year after Rini was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, DNA tests confirmed his real identity. The child's father was anxious to find out what happened.

"When this had happened, I was at work. The detective on Timmothy's case called me and said that they had a lead in Kentucky. I got another phone call later that night, and he goes 'The person does not carry himself as a 14-year-old.' Then they took DNA, and it came back that it wasn't Timmothy," Jim Pitzen said.

Timmothy's family said they feel pity for Rini, but they're shattered, and left to pick up the pieces once again.

"It's kind of back to ground zero for us," said Timmothy's grandmother, Alana Anderson.

"We know that you are out there somewhere, Tim," said the boy's aunt, Kara Jacobs. "We will never stop looking for you, praying for you and loving you."

The judge in Rini's case also wants to see results of a presentencing investigation before entering his sentence. Court records show the deadline for the investigation has been extended repeatedly during the pandemic.

The report likely includes information about Rini's mental and physical health. He pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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