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Ohio man who claimed to be missing Illinois child indicted

CINCINNATI — A federal grand jury indictment that was filed Thursday accuses an Ohio man who claimed to be a missing child from Illinois of lying to federal agents and of identity theft.

Brian Michael Rini, 23, of Medina, now faces two counts of lying to federal agents and one count of aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman’s office in Cincinnati said making false statements carries a possible sentence of eight years in prison with conviction, while the identify theft count would bring a mandatory two years if he is convicted.

He had been arrested earlier on a single false statement count after DNA testing proved he wasn’t Timmothy Pitzen, who disappeared in 2011 at age 6.

Rini is being held without bond, with arraignment scheduled Friday. A message seeking comment was left Thursday with his federal public defender.

Police picked up Rini the morning of April 3 on the streets of Newport, Kentucky.

They said that he told them he was Timmothy and that he had escaped two kidnappers after years of sexual abuse.

Police took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for treatment and testing. Federal authorities have said they were skeptical, especially after he refused to be fingerprinted, but didn’t want to miss a chance to possibly solve the Pitzen disappearance.

The FBI said DNA testing established his identity as a convicted felon who had been released on probation in March from an Ohio prison after serving more than a year on burglary and vandalism charges.

Federal authorities said he also has twice before portrayed himself to be a juvenile sex trafficking victim, as he did in this case.

A federal magistrate last week cited Rini’s lack of a permanent address, past mental health issues and “a lengthy criminal history” that goes back to age 13 as she ordered him held without bond.

In 2017, Rini was treated at an Ohio center for people with mental health or substance abuse problems, according to court papers.

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