The man who allegedly claimed to be missing child Timmothy Pitzen is now charged with making false statements to a federal agent.
Pitzen vanished in 2011 at age 6 and would be 14 today.
A criminal complaint against Rini obtained by PEOPLE alleges the suspect claimed to have been held captive for years while being physically and sexually abused.
According to the complaint, Rini allegedly refused to submit his fingerprints after he was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital but ultimately agreed to a DNA swab, which returned a hit for him and revealed the alleged hoax.
The complaint alleges that after being confronted about his actual identity, Rini said he’d heard Pitzen’s story on ABC’s 20/20.
“He stated that he wanted to get away from his own family. When questioned further, Rini stated that he wished he had a father like Timmothy’s because if he went missing, his father would just keep drinking,” the complaint states.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Rini appeared in federal court Friday morning and is currently in the custody of the FBI. U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman said Rini could face up to 8 years in prison.
The FBI’s statement on the charges against Rini reads: “False reports like this can be painful to the families of missing children and also divert law enforcement resources in order to investigate these untruthful claims. Law enforcement takes dishonest reports very seriously, and we caution that people making false claims can and will face criminal penalties.”
#Breaking: Statement by FBI Cincinnati regarding charges in case of man claiming to be missing Aurora IL teen. Brian M. Rini has been charged by the #FBI with making false statements to a federal agent. pic.twitter.com/8MIWKGqK80— FBI Cincinnati (@FBICincinnati) April 5, 2019
Rini has a criminal history and has had numerous encounters with law enforcement.
According to the Ohio Department of Corrections website, Rini was released from an Ohio prison on March 7 after serving nearly 14 months of an 18-month sentence for burglary and vandalism. At the time of his release, he began a three-year period of parole.
According to the FBI complaint against him, Rini has twice previously purported to be a victim of child sex trafficking.
WGNTV.com cites police records alleging Rini has been in trouble for walking out on bar tabs, passing bad checks and making false alarms with police. The dispositions of those allegations were not clear.
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“He’s been doing stupid stuff, not this serious, but he’s been doing stupid stuff for as long as I can remember,” he said, according to Fox 8. “He was receiving treatment, but then he stopped and started getting in more trouble… he recently just got out of prison.”
“I haven’t talked to him in four years,” Jonathan added to WLWT5. “I’m not surprised. I mean, he’s nuts.”
It was not immediately clear if Rini has retained a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
Timmothy Pitzen’s 2011 Disappearance
Timmothy vanished in May 2011 after his mom abruptly picked him up from school early in the day, citing a family emergency. Three days later, she was found dead in a motel room in Rockford, Illinois, with self-inflicted slashes on her neck and wrists.
Nearby was what police characterized as a suicide note. In it, Amy wrote that Timmothy was “safe” with others who would love and care for him. She added, “You will never find him.”
Those close to Amy told PEOPLE in 2015 that she struggled with mental illness and had once tried to kill herself. They added that she never wanted a child.
Timmothy’s father Jim told PEOPLE at the time there were strains in the couple’s marriage. He told police that when she took Timmothy, she left without her prescribed medication for depression.
After police confirmed that Rini was not who he allegedly claimed to be, Timmothy’s aunt Kara Jacobs and maternal grandmother Alana Anderson spoke out and expressed their sympathy for the man who claimed to be their nephew and grandson.
“I don’t think that anything involving a child is a hoax and I would reserve all judgment and pray for the young man involved,” Jacobs told reporters during a press conference.
Added Anderson: “[The past 24 hours have] been awful. We’ve been on tenterhooks… It’s just been exhausting. As Kara said, I feel so sorry for the young man who had a horrible time and felt the need to say he was someone else and hope that they can find his family.”