In 2011, Timmothy Pitzen’s mother took him on a road trip to the zoo, and a waterpark and his family never saw him again. His Mother Amy Fry-Pitzen checked him out of school to take him on the trip. When she was found dead in a hotel days later, Timmothy was nowhere to be found.
For years, Timmothy’s family has searched to find him. Yesterday a boy in Kentucky flagged down strangers and begged for help. He told police he was Timmothy Pitzen.
In May 2011, Amy Fry-Pitzen took her six-year-old son to the zoo and a waterpark in Wisconsin. Security footage obtained at various stops on their trip showed a happy mother and son. Only a few days later, police found Amy’s body in a hotel room. She committed suicide and left a note about her son.
The note read, “You’ll never find him.”
Instantly the story made national headlines. Amy’s family shared that she had long suffered from depression and other mental health issues. Her marriage was crumbling, and she feared that a court would award her husband custody due to her mental illness.
Authorities and the public searched the miles of farmlands between Amy’s Illinois home and their destination in Wisconsin. Timmothy’s loved ones made pleas to the public to help find him. However, no one ever located him.
As the years wore on, the missing person case of Timmothy faded out of the headlines. Many believed that his mother might have killed him before taking her own life. Without a trace of him anywhere, most people assumed Timmothy was dead.
Until yesterday, all of that changed. A teenage boy was found running on a Kentucky road. Sharon Hall told CNN that she saw Timothy in a Newport, Kentucky neighborhood. The boy approached her and said that he had been running for more than two hours and that he had a stomach ache. He said his name was Timmothy Pitzen.
A 911 call was placed to help Timothy. The caller said,
“He walked up to my car and he went, ‘Can you help me?'” a 911 caller told dispatchers, according to the affiliate. “‘I just want to get home. Please help me.’ I asked him what’s going on, and he tells me he’s been kidnapped and he’s been traded through all these people and he just wanted to go home.”
Sharon contacted police and requested help for the boy. When authorities arrived at the scene, the boy told him that he had just escaped from two men. The boy said the men had been holding him captive for more than seven years. Shockingly, the boy told police his name was Timmothy Pitzen. He provided his date of birth as October 18, 2004 which is Timmothy Pitzen’s birth date.
He described the men having “body-building type” bodies and having multiple easily identifiable tattoos. Also, the boy provided details about the car the men were driving. He said they drove a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates.
According to the boy, he had fled from Ohio into Kentucky. Witnesses that saw him said that he had bruises on his face and was extremely thin.
During the boy’s interview with police, he said that he fled from a Red Roof Inn. Unfortunately, he didn’t know the location of the inn. He told police that he escaped from the hotel, ran across a bridge and into Newport, Kentucky.
Local police checked Red Roof Inn locations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Staff at the hotels told WCPO that police requested a list of hotel guests. However, the staff said that they did not remember seeing anyone that matched the men’s description.
“It’s hard to remember people, to be honest, because of so many people coming in and out,” Kennedy Slusher, a worker at the Red Roof Inn Beechmont, said. “But to hear something like that, it’s kind of mind-blowing. It’s scary.”
After the boy met with police, he received medical care for his injuries. Authorities in Aurora, Illinois are cautiously optimistic that the boy could be Timmothy Pitzen. Authorities said they will perform a DNA test on the boy to determine if he is Timmothy.
Timmothy’s family remains cautiously optimistic that the boy could be him. The family has searched for nearly eight years to try to find him. His story was featured “Crime Watch Daily” and an Amazon show called “Fireball Run.”
In 2015, Timmothy’s father Jim Pitzen recalled the last memory he had of his son in an interview with CNN,
Jim also recounted how his wife’s mental illness caused a number of issues in their marriage. As their relationship fractured, Amy’s greatest fear was that a judge would take Timmothy away from her.
“I have one image. It’s the day I dropped him off at school and he’s off — running off to class — and that’s pretty much the last image I have in my mind of him,” Timmothy’s father, Jim Pitzen, told CNN in 2015.
Even though she dealt with depression, she loved her son immensely. Friends told CNN that Timmothy adored his mother.
With possible news of Timmothy’s appearance, the family is hopeful that they could finally bring him home. His maternal grandma Alana Anderson told ABC that she has been in touch with Aurora Police.
She said that the police will contact the family as soon as the DNA results are returned. If the child is Timmothy, she wanted him to know that they never stopped looking for him and love him very much.
“(I’m) cautiously hopeful, very cautiously hopeful,” Anderson said. “And if it turns out to be him, we’ll be thrilled.”
Timmothy’s aunt, Kara Jacobs, said the family is happy but scared at the same time. She said she has prayed to God for years that her nephew was with people that loved him. Additionally, she said that the family has always believed that he was alive.
If the boy is Timmothy Pitzen, a nearly eight-year mystery will come to an end. In eight years, Timmothy would have grown from a small six-year-old to a fourteen-year-old teen. His entire life will be flipped upside down. He might not even know that his mother is dead.
The thought that adults moved him around from person to person is terrifying. If this is Timmothy, he’s been separated from his family and everyone he loves for years.
His most formidable years were spent with strangers that did not have his best interests in mind. There is no telling the amount of abuse and torture he may have experienced.
If DNA tests prove the teen is Timmothy, there is going to be years of recovery in the boy’s future.
According to the American Psychological Association, kidnap and hostage survivors suffer from a wide array of emotions following their return.
The APA writes in an article “Adjusting to life after being held hostage or kidnapped,” that survivors may experience intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, confusion, and fear of being abducted again.
Additionally, survivors may feel a sense of shock, numbness, anger, and a sense of hopelessness. Due to these feelings, survivors may withdraw from loved ones and activities.
In order to recover, the survivor will need extensive help to re-acclimate back into the world. The APA suggests that they receive counseling and therapy to help them cope with the trauma and the aftermath. Not only will they need psychological help, but the individuals may also require medical assistance to move forward.
Perhaps the most important aspect for the recovery of the child is that the media respect their privacy. The APA recommends that children avoid media interviews, listening to the news, and avoiding any media exposure. Avoiding media exposure, in this case, may be difficult because Timmothy’s disappearance was so high profile.
Finally, the APA says that humans are resilient and can recover. With proper emotional support and counseling, the child can move past the trauma they experienced. Family members are urged to be patient and kind to the survivor during their recovery.
With the DNA results expected later today, I will update the story as soon as I know more.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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