The new documentary, “What Happened to Timthy Pitzen,” airs at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; 11 a.m. Sunday, November 20; and on the NBC 5 and NBC Chicago digital platforms. Watch Rob Stafford’s exclusive interview with Timthy’s father at 10 p.m. Friday in the player above.
Jim Pitzen’s son, Timmothy, was 6 when he disappeared in 2011. He would now be 18.
After a three-day, 500-mile road trip with his mother Amy Fry-Pitzen that ended in her death by suicide and the disappearance of Timmothy, the unsolved case continues to puzzle detectives and detective communities. of the web.
At home in Clinton, Iowa, Jim Pitzen is a father surrounded by memories of his lost son. Her living room walls are frozen in better times with framed photos of baby Timmothy up to the age of 6.
“I think he’s going to find me before I find him,” Pitzen said.
Timmothy, now presumably an adult with access to a phone or the internet, did not contact his father.
“Maybe he’s off the grid in the middle of nowhere,” Pitzen thinks, noting that Timmothy may be unable to call. “In all my mind, I know he’s here somewhere. Where he is, I’m not sure.”
Pitzen’s nightmare began on May 11, 2011, at Greenman Elementary School in Aurora, Illinois. His wife Amy unexpectedly pulled their son out of kindergarten early. She drove Timmothy to her favorite water parks in Wisconsin and Illinois, then killed herself days later at a motel in Rockford, Illinois.
“I called my mother hysterical. ‘You have to get here,'” Pitzen recalled. “She says, ‘Why?’ Well, Amy killed herself and Timmothy disappeared. Just a terrible thing to happen.”
Fry-Pitzen left a cryptic note in the motel room saying that Timmothy was with people who would take good care of him, but you’ll never see him again.
Questions have swirled around the meaning of Fry-Pitzen’s note for years. Had Amy found someone willing to secretly adopt her son? Or had she done something in Timmothy that she didn’t want people to know about? Obviously, whatever demons Fry-Pitzen was dealing with had finally caught up with her in motel room 108.
To this day, Pitzen doesn’t believe Fry-Pitzen would hurt their son, saying, “She would never do anything to hurt him. No, never.”
Fry-Pitzen had two suicide attempts and three failed marriages before marrying Jim Pitzen. He said he accepted his past but clarified what would happen if they ever got divorced.
“We had a little episode when I found out she was talking and had lunch with her first ex-husband,” Pitzen said. “I say, ‘You can make the decision. Where do you want to be, either married to me or you can go back to your first ex-husband? But I’m going to get custody of Timmothy.'”
In the days following Fry-Pitzen’s death, two letters arrived in the mail, not to her husband but to Fry-Pitzen’s mother and a friend. In the letters, Fry-Pitzen wrote that she was sorry but didn’t feel like she “never belonged in the world.” and I have to go.”
Pitzen said his wife’s note left at the motel mentioned him.
“Some derogatory comments about me,” he said. “The kind of loser, you know, not being nice. She was mad at me and she took it away. She took everything from me that day. She made a really, really big point that I’m gonna hurt you more than you hurt me.”
In 2019, a young man came forward saying he was Timmothy, but turned out to be a troubled impostor obsessed with the case.
Jim Pitzen described the false hope which he said “destroyed me for a week or two”.
“Very unhappy. Very destructive,” he said, adding that “mentally they find Timmothy, yeah. Then it brings you back down to ground level. Come back to therapy and deal with everything and the false hopes and I want just my son.”
Pitzen thinks his son was raised by strangers and has strong words for them.
“I want them to know when Timmothy is found and we know who you are, there will be another knock on your door. Hopefully it will be the police,” Pitzen said, adding, “I thought to a lot of things and I know what I’m capable of and I know if they were sitting so close, yeah, it wouldn’t be good.”
Police said a forensic check of Fry-Pitzen’s computers, phones and financial records showed no evidence of a secret adoption.
Pitzen thinks the key to solving Timmothy’s disappearance will be an important clue.
“A person says I remember that day, or seeing those people with that little boy,” Pitzen said.
For years, Pitzen imagined reuniting with his son, saying, “It’s always been that way since he got this big. Just run up and give me a hug. Now I’m going to shake his hand. “
As Pitzen waits for this moment, he stays busy working in his garage not far from Timthy’s old toys and go-kart, constant reminders of the boy who would now be a man.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Timmothy Pitzen, please contact the Aurora Police Department at 630-256-5516.