Teen's Story Is Wrenching. Now, the Wait for Confirmation

Teenager found in Kentucky may be Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who went missing in 2011
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2019 8:15 AM CDT
Is It Timmothy? 'Could Be the Story of a Decade'
This undated photo provided by Aurora, Ill., police shows missing child Timmothy Pitzen before his disappearance in 2011.   (Aurora Police Department via AP)

(Update: The FBI announced later Thursday that the teen in question is not the missing boy. Our original story follows.) Is it really Timmothy Pitzen? The FBI and authorities in multiple states are now investigating what could be an astonishing turn in the case of a boy who went missing seven years ago. "This could be the story of a decade," says Sgt. Bill Rowley of the Aurora, Illinois, police department. "But if it’s not, it’ll be a horrible letdown." The big question is whether a teenager who turned up in Kentucky is an Aurora boy whose disappearance made national headlines in 2011. The teen is currently being treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and it will take 24 hours to get DNA test results. The details:

  • The teen: Police say the youth, looking lost and with bruises on his face, approached a stranger in Newport, Kentucky, early Wednesday asking for help. "He walked up to my car and he went, 'Can you help me?'" a 911 caller told dispatchers, per WCPO. "I asked him what's going on, and he tells me he's been kidnapped and he's been traded through all these people and he just wanted to go home."
  • The name: The teen told police that his name is Timmothy Pitzen and that he'd escaped from two "body-builder type" men holding him against his will at a Red Roof Inn over the border in Ohio. He said he was from Illinois and gave his birth date as Oct. 18, 2004, the same as the missing boy's, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

  • Last seen: In May 2011, Timmothy's mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen took him out of school in Aurora on the pretext of a family emergency, reports the Washington Post. She took him on a mini-vacation of sorts to zoos and resorts. On May 14, her body was found in a motel along with suicide notes saying she had given the boy away and that he would never be found. "I've taken him somewhere safe," she wrote. "He will be well cared for."
  • Mother's trouble: In a 2016 column on the five-year anniversary of the disappearance, Denise Crosby of the Aurora Beacon-News described Fry-Pitzen as "a mother struggling with depression and an unhappy marriage."
  • Father's side: In a 2017 interview, Jim Pitzen, the boy's father, recalled dropping his son off for school on that day in 2011 to mystateline.com. "It's terrifying, not knowing where he's at," he said. "I keep hoping every day that he comes home."
  • Big news: The disappearance made national headlines, including a 20/20 segment, notes the Beacon-News, which calls it "one of the most confounding missing children cases in the Chicago area over the last decade." This video from Crime Watch Daily has a summary of the case.
  • Suspects: Police were unable to find the two men who were allegedly holding the teen at a Red Roof. They were reportedly driving a Ford SUV with Wisconsin plates.
  • Family's wish: "We hope it’s true," Timmothy’s aunt, Kara Jacobs, tells CBS Chicago. "What's hard is the story that he escaped from captors. And your mind goes in too many directions that you don’t want to think about." It was not immediately clear if members of the Pitzen family were traveling to Ohio. Adds Sgt. Rowley: "We have no idea if this is Timmothy Pitzen. We don’t know if it’s a hoax. Obviously, everyone’s hopeful, but we have to be super judicious."
(More missing boy stories.)

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