CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio man who claimed to be a child who disappeared at age 6 is expected to make a plea Wednesday to federal charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
A court filing this week by Kyle Healey, an assistant U.S. attorney, showed that a plea agreement has been reached in the case of Brian Michael Rini, 24, of Medina, Ohio. A prosecutor’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Thornton, said no details would be made public until the hearing before U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett.
Richard Monahan, the federal public defender for Rini, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Rini last year pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft and lying to FBI agents. He would have faced up to eight years in prison if convicted on those charges.
Barrett ruled Oct. 31 that Rini was competent to stand trial, after he underwent an evaluation in a federal facility in Chicago. A court transcript of the Oct. 31 hearing showed that the defense and prosecution had discussed settling the case.
Police say Rini was wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky, last April 3. Police said he told them he was Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared in 2011 at age 6. Authorities said Rini claimed he had just escaped captors who sexually abused him.
Federal authorities said they were suspicious after he refused to be fingerprinted. DNA testing quickly revealed his true identity.
Rini had been released from a state prison last March after serving more than a year on burglary and vandalism charges. Prison records show he was accused of making up stories during his time there.
When confronted with the DNA results, Rini said he’d watched a story about Timmothy on ABC’s “20/20” and wanted to get away from his own family, the FBI said. Authorities said he twice earlier portrayed himself in Ohio as a juvenile victim of sex trafficking.
He’s been held without bond since April.
A federal magistrate had cited Rini’s lack of a permanent address, past mental health issues and “a lengthy criminal history” that goes back to age 13. In 2017, Rini was treated at an Ohio center for people with mental health or substance abuse problems, according to court records.
The hoax had briefly raised hope last year among Timmothy’s relatives.
Timmothy vanished after his mother pulled him out of kindergarten, took him on a two-day road trip to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel. She left a note saying that her son was safe with people who would love and care for him, and added: “You will never find him.”
By DAN SEWELL
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