Search for missing Aurora boy shifts

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As authorities expressed increasing concern about a missing 6-year-old Aurora boy and shifted their search to the Rock Falls area, his father remained optimistic Wednesday that his son would be found safe.

“Timothy is a very intelligent young man,” James Pitzen told WGN-TV. “He will find a way to get out and contact somebody if he thinks he’s in danger.”

Timothy Pitzen has been missing since his mother’s apparent suicide in a Rockford hotel room over the weekend. The search has moved to the Rock Falls area, where the boy’s mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, made several cellphone calls to friends and relatives before killing herself hours later at a Rockford motel last weekend, police said.

On Wednesday, investigators distributed fliers with Timothy’s picture and description at rest stops, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses along Interstate Highway 88 in the Sterling and Rock Falls area, which is west of Dixon along the Rock River.

Fry-Pitzen said during the calls Friday that her son was fine and they were not in any danger. When Timothy talked to a family member, he did not sound as though he were in peril, police said. He could be heard in the background saying he was hungry, police said.

About six hours later, Fry-Pitzen was seen alone at a food store in Winnebago. She checked in alone at a Rockford motel just before midnight and was found dead shortly after noon Saturday. She left a note saying the boy was in the care of unnamed persons.

Police were initially encouraged by the note and the fact that the boy’s car seat and Spider-Man backpack were missing from the 2004 Ford Expedition Fry-Pitzen was driving, possibly indicating she had dropped Timothy off with a friend or acquaintance.

But Wednesday police said they were working several theories about what might have happened to the boy and were “increasingly concerned … because no one has heard from him in a week.”

Timothy’s father described the last few days as “terrifying.”

“I don't know why my wife did what she did,” Jim Pitzen said from the backyard of his Aurora home. “I don't know where my son is and it’s just terrifying to know that my son is there with somebody I don’t know, and I have no idea what my wife told them that would keep him away from his family.”

Pitzen said he was focused on burying his wife while working on locating his son.

“When he’s found, we’re going to visit grandma’s and grandpa’s and have a lot of family time,” he said. “That’s what we're going to do.”

Fry-Pitzen took her son out of his Aurora elementary school May 11, then visited Brookfield Zoo before checking in to the KeyLime Cove waterpark resort in Gurnee that night, police said.

On May 12, credit card receipts show Fry-Pitzen bought some toys and clothes from a Shopko store in Racine, Wis., and gasoline and beverages from a Kwik Trip store in Johnson Creek, Wis. The two then spent the night at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, police said.

The last time Fry-Pitzen and Timothy were seen together was Friday morning when they checked out of the Kalahari, police said.

Jim Pitzen said he remembers the words he shared with his son when he dropped the boy off at kindergarten May 11.

“I said: ‘Here you go, buddy. See you at 10:30.’”

He said the boy answered, “Not a problem, dad. I love you.”

“That’s the last conversation I had with my son,” Pitzen said.

Timothy is described as being about 4 feet 2 inches, around 70 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call Aurora police at 630-256-5500, or local authorities at 911.

Randi Belisomo is a WGN-TV reporter. Gerry Smith is a Tribune reporter.

rbelisomo@tribune.com and gfsmith@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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