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Man who said he is Timmothy Pitzen facing federal charges

Posted at 11:47 AM, Apr 05, 2019

The 23-year-old man who falsely claimed to be an abducted 14-year-old has twice before made bogus claims about being a juvenile sex trafficking victim and only admitted to the hoax this time after being confronted with the results of a DNA test, authorities said in court documents.

Brian Michael Rini has been charged by the FBI with making false statements, authorities announced Friday.

"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," Herb Stapleton, the acting special agent in charge of the FBI Cincinnati said in a written statement. "Law enforcement takes dishonest reports very seriously, and we caution that people making false claims can and will face criminal penalties."

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Rini said his name was Timmothy Pitzen, he'd been abducted when he was 6 years old and he just wanted to go home. After Newport officers made contact with him Wednesday, Rini complained of abdominal pain and was driven to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

During an interview with a Cincinnati police detective and FBI task force officer at the hospital, Rini still claimed to be 14-year-old Timmothy Pitzen, according to the affidavit. He also claimed he'd recently escaped from a hotel room where two men had been holding him captive, and that he'd been sexually and physically abused while in captivity.

Rini refused to provide his fingerprints to investigators, but agreed to a swab for DNA testing, the detective's affidavit states. That DNA test revealed Rini's true identity as the 23-year-old Medina, Ohio native.

Even after being read his Miranda wanings, Rini continued to claim he was Pitzen, according to the detective. It was only after authorities confronted him with the DNA test results that Rini admitted he wasn't Pitzen. He said he'd watched a story about Timmothy on ABC's 20/20, and that he wanted to get away from his own family.

Rini told investigators that he wished he had a father like Timmothy's, because if he had gone missing, he said, his own father would just keep drinking.

The FBI discovered that Rini had twice before claimed to be a juvenile sex trafficking victim, and had been identified in those cases after he was fingerprinted.