In May 2011, 6-year-old Timmothy Pitzen vanished after he was taken out of school by his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen.
The pair spent a day at the zoo and a water park, but what happened next remains a mystery, Fox 8 Cleveland reports.
Fry-Pitzen was found dead by self-inflicted knife wounds in a motel days later. A suicide note indicated that she’d left the child with an unknown caregiver and stated: “You will never find him.”
The boy’s father and the local community have held out hope that he’d someday turn up.
And on Wednesday, a man claiming to be Pitzen, who would now be 14, came forward.
Brian Michael Rini was found wandering in Newport, Kentucky, and told police that he was the missing child, WCPO reports.
He claimed that he’d escaped two men who kidnapped him and held him captive for years. The revelation left the boy’s family “on tenterhooks.”
However, a DNA test performed by the Louisville FBI has confirmed that Rini is not the missing 14-year-old.
He is actually 23 years old and was released from prison in March after serving a sentence for burglary and vandalism.
Rini’s brother told Fox 8 Cleveland that he suffers from mental health issues and that he wasn’t surprised that the man would make up a story.
The 23-year-old is now being held by the FBI in the Hamilton County Justice Center.
He isn’t currently facing any charges, but Newport Police Chief Tom Collins said they could be filed next week.
Pitzen’s family told CBS News they are back to “ground zero” after getting their hopes up. His aunt, Kara Jacobs, said:
“We know that you are out there somewhere, Tim. We will never stop looking for you, praying for you and loving you.”
Rini has not spoken out publicly about why he decided to claim he was the missing child.