As Aurora police on Sunday continued their search for a boy missing after his mother's apparent suicide in a Rockford hotel room, the boy's father waited, hoping for good news from authorities on his son's whereabouts.
James Pitzen, 39, said he last saw his son Timothy, 6, Wednesday morning on his way to kindergarten.
Pitzen's wife, Amy Fry-Pitzen, 43, checked the boy out of school about 8:30 a.m. that day before going to Brookfield Zoo and to the KeyLime Cove Water Park in Gurnee that night, police said.
“She's never done anything like this before,” Pitzen said Sunday, standing in a room filled with Timothy's toys.
She called relatives Friday afternoon to say that the two were not in danger. That night, she was seen at a Sullivan's Foods in Winnebago before checking into a hotel in Rockford about 11:15 p.m. without her son, police said. The next day, motel workers found her body.
The mother “left a note indicating that Timothy was fine and that she left him in the care of unnamed people,” Aurora police said in a statement.
Fry-Pitzen slit her wrists, Aurora spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.
Timothy was last seen about 10:10 a.m. Friday when Fry-Pitzen checked out of the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. The cellphone calls were made later that day from the Sterling area, about 80 miles west of Aurora, police said.
Fry-Pitzen was a wonderful wife and mother, Timothy's paternal grandmother, Linda Pitzen, said Sunday afternoon outside the Pitzens' house.
“It's just terrible not knowing where he is or who he's with or what happened,” she said.
Timothy is a warm, playful boy, always giggling and smiling, Linda Pitzen said. “He is just happy-go-lucky, with a smile that just melts you,” she said.
On Friday, Fry-Pitzen and the boy spoke with Timothy's uncle, Chuck Pitzen. Fry-Pitzen said nothing to explain her actions, but Timothy seemed fine, the family said.
“We couldn't figure out what happened when she just took off. Then we got the call,” Linda Pitzen said. “We just expected them to come home.”
Police from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa are searching for the boy. Timothy is 4-foot-2, about 70 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Timothy's whereabouts was asked to call Aurora police at 630-256-5500 or local authorities at 911.