Missing child hoax suspect to be evaluated for competency to stand trial

Brian Rini appears in U.S. District Court on April 19, 2019.
Posted at 3:28 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 15:28:09-04

CINCINNATI — The man accused of impersonating a missing child is being sent to an institution for evaluation.

Brian Rini, 23, will be institutionalized for "some time" to determine whether he is competent to stand trial, officials said during a brief court hearing Monday.

Rini is accused of claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen, an Illinois boy who has been missing since 2011, after he was found wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky in early April. He's charged with two counts of making false statements and one county of aggravated identity theft.

Police said Rini claimed to be 14-year-old Pitzen and that he escaped from a hotel room where two men had been holding him captive. A DNA test revealed Rini's true identity, authorities said.

Rini has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was being held in the Butler County Jail.

A trial was scheduled to start June 24; it wasn't immediately clear whether that would be delayed after Monday's hearing.

Authorities have asked anyone with genuine information about Timmothy Pitzen's whereabouts to call Aurora police at 630-256-5000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.