Authorities were trying to trace the steps of a suburban Chicago woman to find her 6-year-old son, whom she picked up from school and took to the zoo and a Wisconsin water park before she apparently killed herself in a hotel room.
They said they were searching for Timothy Pitzen in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, the former home of Amy Fry-Pitzen.
There was optimism that the boy may be alive. Not only did Fry-Pitzen, 43, leave a note saying he was fine before she apparently slit her wrists in a Rockford hotel room, but police say she took steps that suggest she may have, as she said in her note, dropped her son off with a friend.
For example, they said a review of photographs of her vehicle's interior shows that the boy's car seat and his Spider-Man backpack were missing. They also said they found credit card receipts that show she purchased children's clothing and toys on Friday morning in Wisconsin.
Further, some friends and relatives said they talked to her and in one case, the boy on Friday, and in none of those calls was there any indication that either the boy or his mother was in any danger.
And, they said, a review of video from a grocery store in Winnebago, near the Rockford hotel where her body was found Saturday afternoon, and from the hotel itself Friday night show the woman was alone.
"All indications we have so far from video footage and people that we have talked to, Tim was not with her in Winnebago or at the hotel, but we have not ruled that out," said Rockford Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark.
On Wednesday, Fry-Pitzen, without telling anyone, picked the boy up from school in Aurora. Authorities said they went to the Brookfield Zoo that afternoon, and then checked into Key Lime Cove Resort in Gurnee on Wednesday night. They drove to the Wisconsin Dells the next day, checking into the Kalahari Resort, and checked out Friday morning.
Aurora Police have confirmed that Fry-Pitzen had attempted suicide before and had been on medication to treat depression.
Her husband, James Pitzen, said he was hoping for word about his son.
"I'm waiting by the phone for them to call and say, 'We found him. Come get him,'" he said. "If someone has him, please turn him in to the police. Please let us know where he's at."