Ohio Man Who Allegedly Pretended to be Missing Illinois Boy Charged With Lying to Federal Officers
CINCINNATI – An Ohio man who pretended to be a missing Illinois boy has been charged federally with making false statements to federal agents.
Brian Michael Rini, 23, formerly of Medina, Ohio, was arrested last night and is currently in federal custody. Rini was presented in federal court at 11am today for an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Robert Brown, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville, Ky. Division, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac, Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins, Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced the charge.
According to the criminal complaint and affidavit filed today, Newport, Ky. police officers responded to a call on Wednesday in which the caller described Rini as wandering the street, looking confused and in need of assistance.
Rini allegedly told officers his name was Timmothy Pitzen and that he was abducted when he was six years old and he “just wanted to go home.”
Local authorities confirmed that Timmothy’s name was associated with a missing and possibly abducted child. Specifically, in 2011, Timmothy, then six years old, went missing from Aurora, Ill. Timmothy was picked up at his school by his mother and a few days later, his mother was found deceased in a Rockford, Ill. hotel room.
Several notes were found in the hotel room that claimed Timmothy was with people who loved him and would take care of him. The notes also stated he would never be found.
Posing as Timmothy, Rini allegedly claimed he had recently escaped from a hotel room in which two men had been holding him captive. He said he had been sexually and physically abused for years while in captivity and that he was having abdominal pain.
Rini was transferred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Emergency Room because of the complaint of abdominal pain, and there, FBI task force officers met with Rini to potentially investigate sex trafficking and crimes against children. FBI special agents and a detective from the Aurora, Ill. police department also spoke with Rini.
It is alleged that Rini continued to claim to be Timmothy throughout conversations in the hospital.
On Wednesday and yesterday, Rini refused to provide his fingerprints to investigators at Children’s Hospital; however, yesterday, he agreed to submit a buccal swab for DNA testing.
DNA test results confirmed Rini’s identity. As a known felon, Rini’s DNA was known to the FBI. Ohio Department of Corrections records indicate Rini was released from an Ohio prison on March 7, 2019.
Once law enforcement officers confronted Rini about his true identity, Rini immediately stated he was not Timmothy Pitzen. He allegedly said he watched a story about Timmothy on 20/20 and stated he wanted to get away from his only family. When questioned further, it is alleged that Rini stated “he wished he had a father like Timmothy’s.”
Further investigation by the FBI found that Rini had allegedly portrayed himself as a juvenile sex trafficking victim on two prior occasions. In those instances, he was only identified once he was fingerprinted.
Making false statements to federal agents is a federal crime punishable by eight years in this case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kyle J. Healey and Christy L. Muncy are prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
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