An Ohio man who caused fresh heartbreak for the family of a long-missing boy has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Brian Rini, now 25, was 23 years old when he claimed to be 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen, an Illinois boy who has been missing since his mother killed herself in 2011. He told authorities he had escaped from kidnappers who sexually abused him. At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, prosecutors told Rini he had caused "an enormous amount of unnecessary pain" to the missing boy's family, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. "I just want to say I'm sorry for what I've done, and I wish I could take it back but I can't." said Rini, who has a history of mental health issues. "I'm sorry to the family." Two other charges against him were dismissed.
After DNA tests revealed Rini's true identity, he told investigators he had learned about Timmothy's case from the TV show 20/20 and he impersonated the boy, who went missing at age 6, because he "wanted to get away from his own family." Authorities say Rini portrayed himself as a victim of juvenile sex trafficking in Ohio on two other occasions and was identified after being fingerprinted, the AP reports. Rini needs to understand that when he "tells lies like this ... it hurts people, it hurts their families, and it takes law enforcement away from their very serious job of helping children who have been sex trafficked," prosecutor Kyle Healey said Tuesday. Rini, who was denied bail after his April 2019 arrest, was given credit for time served. He will be released to start a year of probation in around four months. (Read more missing child stories.)