Person claiming to be missing child was Ohio ex-convict

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Timmothy Pitzen is shown in both an undated photo and a rendition of what he may look like at age 13 on a poster obtained by Reuters

Timmothy Pitzen, missing since May 12, 2011, is shown in both an undated photo and a rendition of what he may look like at age 13 on a poster obtained by Reuters April 4, 2019. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - The person who told Kentucky police he was missing Illinois teen Timmothy Pitzen is a grown man with a criminal record, the FBI and state records said.

Brian Michael Rini, 23, told neighbors in the Kentucky town of Newport that he had escaped kidnappers and was Timmothy, who would be 14 years old, briefly raising hope that the long-lost boy had been found, FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren said.

Timmothy was last seen after his mother pulled him out of school in Aurora, a far-west suburb of Chicago, and then committed suicide.

Lindgren, of the agency's Cincinnati bureau, told Reuters Thursday that DNA tests conducted at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital showed that the person who claimed to be Timmothy was in fact Rini.

"Law enforcement has not and will not forget Timmothy, and we hope to one day reunite him with his family," an FBI statement added. "Unfortunately, that day will not be today."

A public records search in Ohio showed that Rini was released from the Belmont Correctional Institution on March 7, where he had been served 14 months for burglary and vandalism.

Pitzen went missing in May 2011 at the age of 6, after his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, pulled him out of school and took him on a trip to a zoo and a water park. She committed suicide soon afterwards in a motel room, leaving a note that local media said made the boy's whereabouts a mystery.

"Tim is somewhere safe with people who love him and will care for him," she wrote in the note, according to reports by ABC7 Chicago. "You will never find him."

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; editing by Scott Malone, Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish)