IT looked like one of those incredible miracle stories of a missing child found safe and well after years of loss and heartache.
Sadly, this time there was to be no happy ending.
Timmothy was six when he vanished in 2001 after his mother unexpectedly took him out of school and checked in to a hotel in Illinois[/caption]
The person who claimed this week to be missing US boy Timmothy Pitzen has been exposed as a liar, a fantasist and a nasty piece of work.
Timmothy was six when he vanished in 2001 after his mother unexpectedly took him out of school and checked in to a hotel in Illinois.
Tragically she took her own life there — but there was no trace of little Timmothy.
Her suicide note said that her son was safe but that no one would ever find him.
Police and Timmothy’s devastated family have been searching for him for eight years. And this week it finally looked as if there had been a breakthrough.
On Thursday, a thin and dishevelled man found wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky, told police he was Timmothy.
He claimed to have escaped from kidnappers who were holding him against his will.
It was all utter baloney.
DNA tests have now proved he is not Timmothy (who would now be 14) but 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini — a scumbag with a lengthy rap sheet including vandalism, burglary and theft.
I have no idea why Rini would put Timmothy’s family through the sheer hell of having their hopes raised and then destroyed.
It’s beyond cruel and they are obviously devastated.
They won’t be the only ones.
Whenever I hear of these cases, I always think of Kate and Gerry McCann. They still don’t know what happened to their daughter Madeleine, who disappeared as a three-year-old from their holiday apartment in Portugal in 1997.
They will be given fresh hope whenever a missing child is miraculously discovered.
Whenever I hear of these cases, I always think of Kate and Gerry McCann. They still don’t know what happened to their daughter Madeleine, writes Lorraine Kelly[/caption]
I’m sure they would have heard about Timmothy, prayed he had been reunited with his family and friends, and that there would now be a chance for everyone to start living their lives again. When your child goes missing, everything is on hold. There is no closure, so you keep hoping and praying.
Children’s rooms are left as shrines. Birthdays are remembered and Christmas presents bought.
But there is always that empty place at the table to tear at your heart.
Kate and Gerry will never give up on their daughter.
They continually fight for funding to search for Maddie, and the vile abuse they have been subjected to over the years has been horrific.
They were even accused of killing their child at one point, a slur that was simply obscene. They declined to take part in the recent Netflix documentary about Madeleine’s disappearance, though anyone who saw it would realise these totally false accusations were based on police lies and incompetence.
But there have been miracles in the past.
Held captive for 18 years she was forced to have sex with her vile abductor and gave birth to two children.
She was reunited with her family when a shrewd police officer noticed something amiss and helped her escape.
Elizabeth Smart, 14, was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1987 and held captive for nine months until found by police.
In January, Jayme Closs, 13, was found after being held captive for three months.
Such outcomes give families like the McCanns hope.
Since Madeleine’s disappearance they have endured false trails, fake leads, disappointment and heartbreak.
As far as we know, there has never been an impostor — like the pathetic sadist who claimed to be Timmothy — pretending to be Madeleine.
I hope they throw the book at Rini for twisting the knife into the hearts of Timmothy’s family and all parents who wake up every day praying to be reunited with their missing child, against all odds.
Jaycee Dugard was 11 when she was snatched near her California home in 1991 but returned to her family 18 years later[/caption]
In January, Jayme Closs, 13, was found after being held captive for three months[/caption]
MOST READ IN OPINION
Hurrah for Bebe
BEBE REXHA is a sassy, sexy, sensational performer and songwriter, who has the kind of figure that makes men want to burst out cheering.
Scandalously, designers at this year’s Grammys considered her too large to wear their dresses. Bebe is a perfect size 12.
Scandalously, designers at this year’s Grammys considered her too large to wear their dresses. Bebe is a perfect size 12[/caption]
In what sort of messed up world does someone that tiny equate with being too overweight? I’m happy to say Bebe had the perfect revenge by wearing a glorious red Monsoori frock to the Grammys, above.
She was the most beautiful woman in the room and told fashionistas who had rejected her: “You so wish you had dressed my fat ass.”
The Last Hurrah singer has since urged the music and fashion businesses to stop being so fixated on size and for women to start loving their bodies.
I cannot tell you how much I admire this young woman for standing up for herself and keeping it real.
Babs is shining bright
SO good to see Dame Barbara Windsor out and about this week enjoying a West End matinee with her devoted husband Scott Mitchell.
Barbara and devoted husband Scott[/caption]
Babs is living with Alzheimer’s and has good days and bad days, but she seems to come back to life when visiting the theatre.
That famous megawatt smile beams more brightly than the fiercest spotlight.
The cast and crew of smash hit musical Only Fools And Horses were delighted to have such a showbiz legend in the audience. In the photographs of them together, Babs has a real twinkle in her eye.
The 81-year-old might be a bit frailer but she was obviously having a lovely time – and it was one more happy memory for Scott to hold on to.
He’s running the London Marathon later this month to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s charities – along with some of the EastEnders cast, who call themselves Barbara’s Revolutionaries.
Both Scott and Babs are true warriors and should be highly commended for everything they are doing to help fight this frightening and cruel disease.
BIGOT IS SO PITIFUL
I ACTUALLY feel sorry for the Sultan of Brunei – who has passed new laws in his tiny oil-rich country which mean gay men can be legally stoned to death.
It’s utterly repugnant, abhorrent and inhumane and belongs in the Stone Age. For all his enormous wealth, this sad little person will never know the sheer joy of watching two men who adore each other throw a fabulous party to celebrate their marriage.
He will never dance the night away to Abba or laugh hysterically at the Will & Grace reboot.
He might eat off gold plates, sleep in silk sheets and spend thousands on a haircut, but a man who cannot appreciate the power of love is to be pitied.
Not in Brunei, Saudi Arabia or parts of Africa.
Isle pair had no chance
AS someone who never watched Love Island, the whole Jack and Dani romance passed me by.
The pair seemed sweet and pleasant when I interviewed them, but there was zero sexual chemistry.
Jack and Dani seemed sweet and pleasant when I interviewed them, but there was zero sexual chemistry[/caption]
In the hot house of Love Island, with hormones running riot and the prospect of fame dangled in front of them, I understand why contestants might think they are genuinely in love – and that they will be together for ever.
But back in the real world, where you have to pop to the shops for bog roll in the pouring rain, they never stood a chance.
HAVING A FEW WORDS
I NEARLY fell off my sofa viewing Corrie this week.
Up popped cheeky Gemma, lounging in the front room, guzzling toast and declaring she would like ME as her mum.
I adore this character, played to perfection by Dolly-Rose Campbell, but I think Gemma would be too much of a handful as a daughter.
We would certainly be having stern words over her idea of how to wash the dishes. The little minx licked her plate clean then put it on the drying rack.
I know poor Chesney wasn’t the only one to spit out his tea in shock and disgust.