Witnesses said the deeply bruised teen appeared anxious as he ran up to a passing auto to seek refuge, and one reported the incident as possible vehicle theft, according to news station WFIR. We just don't want to get our hopes up.
He told police he had escaped from two men with bodybuilder physiques who were holding him at a hotel in an area approximately 300 miles (480 km) from his hometown of Aurora, according to a police report.
When he later told authorities his name, it would kick law enforcement authorities nationwide into action.
Pitzen's grandmother has been "cautiously optimistic" about the situation, telling ABC 7 that she and her family "never stopped looking for him". Pitzen had been missing since his mother removed him from school and took him on a three-day road trip before she was found dead of an apparent suicide. The boy and his Spider-Man backpack were gone.
The case baffled police, Timmothy's family and his hometown for years and left them wondering whether he was dead or alive.
The FBI's Louisville office and the FBI's Cincinnati office confirm they're actively coordinating with Newport police, Cincinnati police, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, and Aurora, Illinois police.
Police said the boy was taken to hospital but did not give any details of his condition.
Speaking to WISN-TV, she said: "We just know a 14-year-old boy was found and went to the police".
"The fact this is a hoax is certainly a disappointment, but it's our job and we understand it's the nature of our work".
Speaking from her home in northern Illinois, Alana Anderson says "there have been so many tips and sightings and what not and you try not to panic or be overly excited".
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She took her own life soon afterwards in a motel room, leaving a note that local media said made the boy's whereabouts a mystery.
People who talked to him before police arrived said he was anxious and pleaded for help. "She felt that her life had come to an end and she was going to end her life and she didn't want to leave him without good parenting".
CBS 2 could not reach Jim Pitzen for comment.
Timmothy was last seen after his mother pulled him out of school in Aurora, a far-west suburb of Chicago, and then committed suicide.
"We were shocked and overjoyed, but scared at the same time", Timmothy's aunt, Kara Jacobs, said.
"What do you mean he's not here?" She assured them that Timmothy was safe.
The couple was having trouble. One of the detectives is a cold case investigator.
She didn't answer a phone call immediately after the Federal Bureau of Investigation announcement. "That was kind of the best I could hope for". "I figured everything would be fine and we'd be one big happy family again". She'd checked him out of his kindergarten class and driven him to a zoo and water parks before the boy seemingly disappeared after they checked out of a Wisconsin Dells resort. Her body was found with her wrists slit on May 15, 2011.
Police and the FBI are investigating whether a teen found wandering in Kentucky on Wednesday is Timmothy.
"I just got a text from a family member that it's not him".