Kara Jacobs remembers very well the day her mother told her about her sister Amy Fry-Pitzen.
“I think the first thing anyone who has gone through a loss like this feels is just confusion. Just say, ‘I don’t get it. No, no,'” Jacobs thought back.
Kara found out on May 14, 2011 that her sister Fry-Pitzen, who was 43 years old, had k-illed herself in a Rockford motel and that her son Timmothy Pitzen had gone missing.
“Then I thought, ‘What do you mean Tim’s not there? Why wouldn’t he be? “Where is he?” Jacobs asked.
Jacobs is the uncle of Timmothy. The missing boy’s mother was her sister Fry-Pitzen.
On that terrible day in 2011, Fry-Pitzen picked Timmothy up early from Greenman Elementary School in Aurora and drove over 500 miles in three days, taking him to his favorite zoo and two water parks in Wisconsin and Illinois before k*illing her.
No one has been able to find Timmothy.
Fry-Pitzen, who had a mental illness, left a note in the motel saying she was sorry and that Timmothy was with people who would take good care of him, but that they’d never find him.
Timmothy was only 6 years old at the time. On Tuesday, he turned 18.
Jacobs is sure that one day, the mystery of where Timmothy went will be solved.
“It’s a story of hope for us in every way. “Everyone in the family thinks Tim is still alive and out there,” Jacobs said.
“It’s still going on. He’s not living the life we think he should, because I think he should be with his father,” Jacobs said. “But one day we’ll see him, and you’ll see the other side of the story. And that will be really cool.”
Jacobs and Timmothy’s father, Jim, strongly disagree with the idea that it might have been a m*urder-suicide.
Jacobs said, “I never for a second thought Timmothy was in danger.” “It never even occurred to me.”
Jacobs said that her sister and Timmothy were like “two peas in a pod” and that they were almost always together. It was the one thing that made me think, “Wow, Amy was meant to be a mom. This is what Amy was supposed to do.'”
But Jacobs admits that she didn’t see another side of Fry-Pitzen.
Jacobs said, “I think I bought what she told us, and I thought she was better than she was.” “I knew that she was sad. I knew she was having trouble. I didn’t know it was as bad as it was, of course. That was unexpected.”
At the time, Fry-Pitzen and her husband were having trouble with their marriage, and Jacobs said that her sister thought Fry-Pitzen’s history of mental illness wouldn’t help her win a custody battle.
Jacobs said, “She was worried that she could lose custody of Tim, and that was just too much for her to handle.”
Now, Jacobs can’t imagine living without Timothy.
She has worked with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and retraced her sister’s steps, searching each stop along a 500-mile route.
“It took me 10 years to work up the courage to drive myself. And when I did, it was like a light went on and I said, “Oh, now I get it.” I know where she went now. Now I could see where she was going and know what she was doing,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said that based on Fry-Pitzen’s cell phone and I-PASS records, she thinks that Fry-Pitzen took I-88 west and exited at 44 into Sterling, Illinois.
“Somewhere between Sterling and Mount Carroll, she makes the phone calls,” Jacobs told NBC 5 Investigates as she pointed out the location on a map.
These calls were to tell Timmothy’s family that he was okay. Then, Fry-Pitzen turned off her phone and threw it behind a grain storage building off a remote road in Mount Carroll.
Jacobs said that at that point in the story, she thinks her sister Fry-Pitzen had already made up her mind and was calling family to say goodbye.
But she says that there was no sign of trouble in the calls. Fry-Pitzen even let Timmothy talk to a family member, but after that, no one heard or saw him again.
Jacobs thinks that her sister went north on Highway 78 and then turned onto Route 20.
“If you turn left, that will take you to Dubuque,” said Jacobs.
She remembered that she and her sister had taken this road when they were kids.
Her family used to go to Dubuque, Iowa, a lot.
“When we were young, we spent a lot of time going back and forth on Route 20 to see our grandparents and an aunt and uncle. Amy did spend some time with my grandparents back in the 1990s. In Iowa, she met people. “I think what happened was because of a connection she made there,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs thinks that someone in Iowa gave Timmothy to another family.
Since Timmothy went missing, no one has said they saw him, but Jacobs sees her search for answers as a long road with one end. Not a place, but a little boy who would now be a man.
“We’re not finished. Jacobs said, “I’m not done until I can see Tim standing in front of his dad. Then I’ll feel like the circle is closed.”