Timmothy Pitzen went missing in 2011, but he may have recently escaped his captors
Residents of a Newport, Kentucky, neighborhood who first spotted the boy in the hooded sweatshirt on Wednesday initially thought he looked suspicious.
But when a closer look revealed the boy’s bruised face and terrified expression, they realized he needed help. Their subsequent encounter with him might have helped solve the missing persons case of Timmothy Pitzen, who was 6 years old when he vanished in 2011 and would be 14 today.
“He looked like he had been beat up, yes. Punched in the face a couple of times,” neighbor Crekasafra Night told Cincinnati station WCPO. “You could see the fear on him and how nervous he was and how he kept pacing — and he just looked odd.”
A woman who did not want to be identified recounted to WLWT: “He walked up to my car, and he went, ‘Can you help me? I just want to get home. Can you just please help me?'”
She added, “I asked him what was going on, and he told me he’s been kidnapped and he’s been traded through all these people. He just wanted to go home. He needed help.”
The woman told the station he identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen.
Sharonville police subsequently interviewed the boy, who again identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen, according to a police report.
He said he had just escaped from two kidnappers who’d been holding him for seven years. They’d been staying at a Red Roof Inn, said the boy, who added he escaped and ran across a bridge from Ohio into Kentucky.
“Timothy [sic] is originally from Illinois and was last known to be with his mother, who apparently had killed herself,” the report states.
The report adds that the boy “described the two kidnappers as two male, whites, body-builder type build.”
One had black hair, a Mountain Dew shirt and jeans and a spider web tattoo on his neck, while the other was “short in stature and had a snake tattoo on his arms.”
The alleged captors have not been caught. The report states the boy didn’t know the location of the Red Roof Inn where he’d been held captive. Sharonville police searched a local Red Roof Inn as well as surrounding motels, but “but nothing was found,” according to the report.
Sharonville police contacted all surrounding agencies with a Red Roof Inn in their jurisdictions.
Mother’s Chilling Suicide Note
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.
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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.
The boy’s identity is pending confirmation from DNA testing. ABC spoke to Pitzen’s family members, who said police told them results are expected Thursday afternoon.
Timmothy’s grandmother Alana Anderson told the station she is “cautiously optimistic,” adding, “We never stopped looking for him.”