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Devastated by hoax, missing boy's family vows to "never stop looking"

Timmothy Pitzen family: "Back to ground zero"
Timmothy Pitzen family: Heartbreak and "back to ground zero" in search for missing boy 03:07

Police say a man's claims that he was Timmothy Pitzen, an Illinois boy who disappeared nearly eight years ago, were false, devastating the boy's family which has been hoping for Timmothy's safe return. Police were called to a neighborhood in Newport, Kentucky, Wednesday after people reported seeing someone acting suspiciously, ducking behind cars and moving away when people got close.

Timmothy Pitzen of Illinois disappeared eight years ago, at the same time his mother was found dead, from suicide.  CBS News

According to a police report, the man told them he was 14-year-old Pitzen, who had gone missing in 2011. He allegedly said he'd escaped his kidnappers.

But a DNA test proved otherwise.

Police say the man was actually Brian Rini. According to Ohio corrections records, Rini has a lengthy rap sheet, including past charges over false statements. He served more than a year in prison for burglary and vandalism, and was released less than a month ago on parole, reports Adriana Diaz.

Timmothy's family says 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.

Now the family is appealing again, but this time for prayers.

"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 real Timmothy Pitzen went missing when he was six years old, around the same time his mother was found dead in a motel room from an apparent suicide. She allegedly left a note that said Timmothy was safe, but that he would never be found.

In 2011, Timmothy's father, James Pitzen, spoke to our CBS Chicago station, WBBM. He made a direct appeal to whoever had his son.

"I forgive you for having my son. I just wish you would drop him off at the hospital [or] police department, so that he can come home to his family," he said.

"I just miss my son, and wish he was here."

Timmothy's family says they never gave up hope he would be found, and this week's promising break in the case, is now heartbreak.

Kara Jacobs said, "It's devastating. It's like reliving that day all over again.

The FBI is not commenting on whether Rini will be charged.

His brother Jonathon talked to the press yesterday and apologized to the Pitzen family. He said he hasn't spoken to Brian for years, but called him "nuts," and added that he's "not surprised" by the incident.

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