Timmothy Pitzen went missing in 2011, but he may have just escaped his captors


On Wednesday, a boy found wandering the streets of Kentucky identified himself to neighbors and then police as Timmothy Pitzen, who was 6 when he went missing in 2011 after being taken out of school in Illinois by his mom.

The boy told Sharonville, Ohio, police he was being held by two men for seven years, and that they’d been in a hotel. He said he escaped his captors and ran across a bridge from Ohio to Kentucky.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed they are working with authorities from Aurora, Illinois, on a missing child case. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Timmothy is the only missing child from Aurora.

Authorities have not confirmed the boy’s identity and are waiting for DNA results to come back. ABC News reports those test results are expected back Thursday.

Timmothy PitzenCredit: National Center for Missing or Exploited Children
Timmothy Pitzen (left) and an age-progressed photo of him
| Credit: National Center for Missing or Exploited Children (2)

Here are several things to know about the case:

After Being Spotted in Kentucky, Boy Asked Woman, ‘Can You Help Me?’

When several residents of Newport, Kentucky, spotted a boy they’d never seen before, he initially seemed suspicious to them, reports WLWT.

But one of those residents said she soon realized the boy needed help.

“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?'” the woman, who did not want to be identified, told the station.

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 added that the boy “looked like he’d been beat up or something. He had a really big bruise on his face.”

She told the station he identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen.

Boy Told Police He’s Timmothy Pitzen — and Described Alleged Captors

Sharonville police subsequently interviewed the boy, who identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen

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,” a Sharonville police 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.”

Alleged Captors Haven’t Been Caught

The police 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,” the report states.

Sharonville police contacted all surrounding agencies with a Red Roof Inn in their jurisdictions.

Timmothy Vanished in 2011 After Mom Picked Him Up Early From School

Timmothy’s father, Jim Pitzen, dropped him off at school on the morning of May 11, 2011. The boy said goodbye to his parents, bounding toward his teacher in “this little waddle run, like a chubby old man,” Jim recalled to PEOPLE in 2015. “I told him I loved him and to be good. And then he was gone.”

Thirty minutes later, Jim’s wife Amy Fry-Pitzen, 42, returned to pick up Timmothy at school, citing a family emergency.

Subsequently, Timmothy and his mother vanished.

WATCH: Boy Found in Ohio Says He’s Timmothy Pitzen, Who Vanished in 2011

Timmothy’s Mother Suffered From Mental Illness

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.

Jim told PEOPLE there were strains in the couple’s marriage, and he told police that when she took Timmothy, she left without her prescribed medication for depression.

After she took Timmothy, Amy turned her phone off, presumably not wanting to be tracked as Jim tried to reach her. On the third day after they vanished, she briefly surfaced, ignoring Jim’s messages but calling her brother as well as police, telling authorities they were not missing and that Timmothy was fine.

Mother’s Chilling Suicide Note: ‘You Will Never Find Him’

The trail of Amy’s movements evaporated after her phone call to police. But on that day, she checked into a hotel room in Rockford, Illinois, where she was later found dead 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.”

“A lot of people think she killed him,” Jim told PEOPLE. “But she loved that little guy so much. I can’t see her killing him. I just cant.”

DNA Results Will Confirm Identity by Thursday Afternoon, Say Family Members

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.”

Aurora Police Sgt. Bill Rowley urged caution in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, telling the paper, “We have no idea if this is Timmothy Pitzen. We don’t know if it’s a hoax. Obviously, everyone’s hopeful, but we have to be super judicious.”