It’s been an emotional week for James Pitzen after a man claiming to be his long-lost son Timmothy was arrested and charged with impersonating the missing boy.
“It was like a scab being ripped open,” Pitzen said in an exclusive interview with NBC News. “It’s just painful. Now you’ve gotta wait for the scab to heal.”
Pitzen’s son Timmothy disappeared eight years ago after his mother took him out of school and brought him to several theme parks. Following those excursions, the boy’s mother committed suicide, and left behind a note that said the boy was safe, but that authorities “will never find him.” [[508248372, C]]
That occurred in 2011, and on Wednesday a man, identified as 23-year-old Brian Rini, turned himself into police, identified himself as Timmothy Pitzen, and claimed that he had escaped kidnappers in Cincinnati.
A DNA test later proved that Rini’s claims were false, and he is now facing federal charges.
Despite hoping against hope that his son had been found, James Pitzen said that he was skeptical of the claims from the beginning. [[508127312, C]]
“The detectives asked him a bunch of questions, and he said he didn’t have any pets and I was like ‘that’s wrong,’” he said. “The detectives also said he didn’t carry himself like a 14-year-old, so I pretty much knew it wasn’t him to begin with after that time.”
Pitzen said that he hopes the situation will re-kindle awareness of his son’s disappearance, and he is also convinced that his son is still alive.
“He is alive somewhere. I know he is,” he said. “He’s probably in the middle of nowhere, being home-school, away from media and TV’s.” [[508083562, C]]
Pitzen also opened up about the pain that he deals with frequently, saying that he has used sick time at work when he’s had trouble coping with the situation.
“I lost my whole family that day,” he said. “(But) you can’t give up hope.”