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Kareem Elgazzar, email@example.com
On Wednesday, a teenage boy told police that he was Timmothy Pitzen, who has been missing since 2011.
Officials are working to determine the identify of the boy who fled across a bridge in Kentucky and looked like he’d been “jumped.” He said his birthday is Oct. 18, 2004, which matches Timmothy’s date of birth.
Timmothy, from Aurora, Illinois, would be 14 years old today. He was last seen at a water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, on May 12, 2011, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
If the teen is Timmothy, he could join a list of other missing children that made headlines when they were miraculously found alive:
On Jan. 10, at age 13, Jayme Closs freed herself from the northern Wisconsin home of Jake Thomas Patterson after nearly three months in captivity. Patterson, 21, was charged with fatally shooting Jayme’s parents and holding Jayme at his home, often hidden under a twin bed.
Patterson pleaded guilty last month to the kidnapping and killings, a move that spared the teenager and her family from enduring a trial.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted in 2002 at knifepoint by Brian Mitchell while sleeping in her home. She was 14 years old. Her captors, Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, kept her in an encampment in the mountains outside her hometown of Salt Lake City.
In 2003, Smart was spotted on a street with her captors by police and rescued. Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison. Barzee served prison time and has been released.
Smart is now a child-safety advocate and married with three young children.
“When I look in the mirror, I also see a mother and a wife, and someone I am proud to be,” Smart told The Arizona Republic. “I see an advocate. I see a survivor.”
Jaycee Lee Dugard was 11 years old when she was kidnapped by a married couple in June 1991 while walking to a school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California. While imprisoned, she gave birth to two girls fathered by one of her captors, 58-year-old Phillip Garrido. She was forced to live in the backyard of the home in sheds and tents with her two children until they were rescued.
Garrido would be sentenced to 431 years in prison for the crimes. His wife, 54-year-old Nancy Garrido, received 36 years to life in prison for her involvement. Dugard went on to found a nonprofit that helps families during the reunification process.
Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, Michelle Knight
Michelle Knight, then 20, vanished in August 2002. Amanda Berry disappeared on April 21, 2003 — a day before her 17th birthday. Georgina “Gina” DeJesus disappeared in 2004 on her way home from school. Their abductor, Ariel Castro, tortured, beat and raped the women for years in his Cleveland home. The trio escaped May 6, 2013, when a neighbor heard Berry scream for help.
“It’s hard for me to believe that I actually got out alive and I’m here,” Knight said two years after she became free. “Because there were days that I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”
Castro was sentenced to life in prison, where he later took his own life.
Contributing: The Arizona Republic
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