DNA testing was ordered Thursday on a teen who emerged in Kentucky claiming to be the long-missing Timmothy Pitzen and who told officials he'd just escaped the kidnappers who'd held him hostage for more than seven years.
The teen was located in Newport, Ky., early Wednesday by residents who spotted him in the neighborhood and suspected he might be looking to steal something. When neighbors approached him, he told them an incredible story.
Timmothy was reported missing in May 2011. His mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, picked up the then-6-year-old from school in Aurora, Ill., and took him for a two-day trip to a zoo and a water park.
Then, Fry-Pitzen killed herself in a Rockford hotel room.
Timmothy was nowhere to be found, but a cryptic note, believed written by Fry-Pitzen and found in the room with her body, claimed she left her son with people who would care for him.
“You’ll never find him,” the note read, according to FOX19.
On Wednesday, Sharon Hall, who said she spotted the 14-year-old boy wandering the block, told FOX19 she initially thought he was trying to steal her neighbor’s car.
“From out the window, I couldn’t see who was standing to the curb. But I looked out and came back in and...there was a young man standing by my neighbor’s car,” Hall said. “…The way he was acting, he was fidgety, he was moving around, he was looking in her car.”
Hall said she eventually got in touch with her neighbor and found two other women already speaking to the teen. The women called police after the teen told them he was Pitzen and had “just escaped from two kidnappers” who held him hostage for seven years.
“We have this child who says he ran away…says he was kidnapped. And we found it. It looks like back in 2011 he was kidnapped or abducted. Last name is Pitzen…first name is Timmothy. If you Google it, it will pop right up,” a Campbell County dispatcher said.
The teen described his captors as two men with bodybuilder physiques and said they were traveling in a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates, Sharonville Police Department wrote in an incident report.
“One had black curly hair, Mt. Dew shirt and jeans & has a spider web tattoo on his neck. The other was short in stature and had a snake tattoo on his arms,” the report stated.
The teen told police he and his kidnappers were staying in a Red Roof Inn in the Cincinnati, Ohio area when he managed to escape, running across a bridge until he reached Kentucky.
The FBI, Aurora police and several other agencies rushed to meet the 14-year-old on Wednesday to confirm if he really was the missing Illinois boy. The teen was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and authorities ordered a DNA test. Officials hope to have the results at some point Thursday.
"We've probably had thousands of tips of him popping up in different areas," Aurora police Sgt. Bill Rowley said. "We have no idea what we're driving down there for. It could be Pitzen. It could be a hoax."
Timmothy's grandmother, Alana Anderson, told WISN-TV on Wednesday that authorities have told the family "very little."
"We just know a 14-year-old boy was found and went to the police," Anderson said. "We don't want to get our hopes up and our family's hopes up until we know something. We just don't want to get our hopes up. We've had false reports and false hopes before."
Anderson also told FOX19 she’s “very cautiously hopeful” the teen is her grandson.
“Well, I’m very hopeful that it is him and that he is okay and he’s been in a good place when he was gone,” she said. “…If it turns out to be him, we’ll be thrilled.”
“We never stopped looking for him, thinking about him, and that we love him and that we will do everything for him to get back to a good life,” she said when asked what her message would be to Timmothy.
FBI Louisville also said in a tweet Wednesday: "FBILouisville and @FBICincinnati are actively coordinating with the Newport PD, @CincyPD, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and @AuroraPoliceIL on a missing child investigation. There will be no further statement made on this matter until we have additional information."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.