AURORA, Ill. — Timmothy Pitzen’s disappearance in 2011 devastated the community of Aurora, where Pitzen is from. He doesn't have family in Aurora anymore, but the impact his case had on the area remains strong.
"I'm a little speechless," said Joyce Maldonado. "Absolutely my thoughts and prayers are with him, wherever he is. Also, for his family, and for the best outcome for everyone. From the very beginning, this case just tugged at everyone's heart. I have a grandson a few years younger than him. It's awful to think about."
In downtown Aurora on Wednesday, many people were sharing those prayers — and a new sense of hope. It was the same a few miles away, in the neighborhood where Pitzen lived and went to school at Greenman Elementary.
He was last seen at Greenman as a 6-year-old. An age-progressed photo by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shows what he might look like now as a teenager.
Aurora Police called Pitzen's father and grandmother Wednesday to fill them in on this latest tip. They also sent detectives to the Ohio/Kentucky area, where the tip came in Wednesday morning.
Authorities in Campbell County, Kentucky, got a 911 call Wednesday morning from a teenage boy claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen from Aurora. The boy said he ran away from two white men who've been keeping him at a Red Roof Inn. Witnesses in Kentucky said he looked scared and had a bruise on his face.
"From the very beginning, this case just tugged at everyone's heart. I have a grandson a few years younger than him. It's awful to think about." — Aurora resident Joyce Maldonado
But police in Aurora want to reiterate that a DNA test will take at least 24 hours, and results might be available Thursday. Authorities still don't know if this boy is in fact Timmothy.
"It would be unbelievable — and a miracle," Maldonado said.
"I distinctly remember this case, and thinking how sad it was for the family," said Sheila Hernandez. "When I hear it might be him, I just think how amazing and incredible that would be. I'm thankful that this might be a break in the case, after eight years."
Aurora Police have investigated false tips about Timmothy Pitzen over the years. They say the hardest part of their job is having to tell the Pitzen family that a tip didn't prove true. They hope this time will be different. They are working closely with the FBI, which is leading this multi-state investigation.