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mystery solved?
April 3, 2019

Police in suburban Cincinnati are trying to positively identify a 14-year-old boy who says he is Timmothy Pitzen, a boy who vanished from Illinois in 2011.

The teenager told police in Campbell County, Kentucky, that he escaped from a Red Roof Inn in Ohio where he had been staying with two men who kidnapped him seven years ago. The boy "kept running across a bridge" into Kentucky, the incident report states. He described the men as being white with "body-builder like physiques," driving a Ford SUV with Wisconsin plates.

Timmothy Pitzen was only 6 years old when he disappeared from Aurora, Illinois. Police found his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, dead in a hotel room, after she took her own life. A few days before she was found, Fry-Pitzen picked her son up from school after his father dropped him off, and they went to a Wisconsin water park and a zoo. In a note, she wrote that her son was fine but would never be found, and police believed she had left him with someone she knew.

Aurora Police Sgt. Bill Rowley said his department has received "thousands of tips" over the years about Timmothy, and they looked for him in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa; Rowley added that he sent two detectives to Cincinnati to see if this is the real Timmothy Pitzen. Timmothy's grandmother, Alana Anderson, told WISN-TV the family is afraid to "get our hopes up. We've had false reports and false hopes before." A DNA test has been conducted. Catherine Garcia

March 18, 2019

For decades, the identity of Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery, but two British forensic scientists say that because of DNA testing, they finally have a name.

Jack the Ripper gained notoriety in the late 1800s when he murdered and mutilated at least five prostitutes in London's East End. There were several suspects, but no one was ever definitively proven to be the serial killer.

Earlier this month, British researchers Jari Louhelainen of Liverpool John Moores University and David Miller of the University of Leeds wrote in the Journal of Forensic Science that after testing semen and blood found on a shawl discovered near victim Catherine Eddowes, they determined that the DNA belonged to Aaron Kosminski, a prime suspect at the time.

Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber, reportedly disappeared from London after the Jack the Ripper murders. Louhelainen and Miller said they've spent the last eight years studying the silk shawl, which is "the only piece of physical evidence known to be associated with these murders." Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from a person's mother, and the researchers compared what was found on the shawl with samples taken from living relatives of Kosminski and Eddowes. Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2018

An anthropology professor says bones discovered on Nikumaroro Island in 1940 most likely belonged to Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared in 1937 while flying over the South Pacific.

In his study, published in the journal Forensic Anthropology, Richard Jantz writes that when the bones were found, "there was suspicion" they could be Earhart's, but when they were examined in Fiji in 1941, it was determined they belonged to a man. "Forensic osteology was not yet a well-developed discipline," he said.

The bones have since gone missing, but using modern technology and Earhart's measurements, Jantz said he found Earhart is "more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99 [percent] of individuals in a large reference sample. In the case of the Nikumaroro bones, the only documented person to whom they may belong is Amelia Earhart." If those were Earhart's bones, Jantz said, it's likely she died on the island as a castaway. Catherine Garcia

November 30, 2017

On Aug. 21, 2016, President Trump's adviser Roger Stone published a cryptic tweet: "It will soon [be John] Podesta's time in the barrel," he wrote, referring to Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. By September, Stone was telling Boston Herald Radio that "Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people [are ready] to drop a payload of new documents on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that of course will answer the question of exactly what was erased on [Clinton's] email server."

Then, on Oct. 7, 2016, Stone's predictions came true: WikiLeaks began publishing thousands of emails hacked from Podesta's Gmail account.

Now the mystery of how Stone knew about the WikiLeaks emails in advance may finally be coming to a close. On Tuesday, comedian and "longtime outsider in New York state politics" Randy Credico posted a photo of a subpoena he received that will require him to appear before the House Intelligence Committee, apparently as part of the ongoing probe into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, The New York Times reports. "A person familiar with the House efforts said that Mr. Credico had been identified as the intermediary between Mr. Stone and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks," the Times adds.

Credico met with Assange in April for an interview on his radio program. Stone had also been on Credico's show, noting in 2016 that "we both dislike Hillary. We're both fans of Julian Assange." While Stone declined to comment on the most recent developments, he had told ABC News earlier this year that "I read on Twitter that [Assange] had a cache of information on Hillary and that he would release it, I did ask a source to confirm that before I put it in my column." Stone bragged to CNN that he had a "backchannel contact" to Assange.

For its part, WikiLeaks has tweeted: "WikiLeaks & Assange have repeatedly confirmed that they have never communicated with Stone." Jeva Lange

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