Man kidnapped as new born in 1964 and returned to parents a year later is not their son, DNA test reveals

Man kidnapped as new born in 1964 and returned to parents a year later is not their son, DNA test reveals

On 27 April 1964, new mother Dora Fronczak was nursing her one day-old son, named Paul, in the maternity ward at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital.  A nurse walked in and told her that the baby needed to be examined by a doctor.  Dora handed him over.  The middle-aged ‘nurse’ took the baby, walked out of the back of the hospital, and got into a taxi cab.  She was never seen again.

The police launched a nationwide manhunt; FBI Agents examined 10,000 babies and interviewed 30,000 witnesses.  The kidnapping became an international sensation, and the heartbroken Dora and her husband Chester Fronczak were inundated with letters of sympathy, including one from the Pope.  They were also hounded by the media – reporters hung outside of their windows, climbed telegraph poles, slept in their garden and followed them everywhere, including to their church, to get their picture.  Several bogus kidnappers were even arrested for trying to extort money from the Fronczaks.  But no trace of the baby was ever found.

Paul Fronczak as a young boy
Paul Fronczak as a young boy

In July 1965, a 1 year-old boy in a pushchair was found abandoned outside a store in Newark, New Jersey.  Child welfare officers named him Scott McKinley and placed him in a local orphanage.  FBI agents were alerted, and examined the boy’s skin, bones, blood and ears.  They decided that the boy’s ears matched those of the missing Fronczak baby, and that he probably was Paul Fronczak.

Dora Fronczak took one look at the child and said, “That’s my baby.”

The police still had doubts and, because his identity wasn’t positively proven, the Fronczaks had to legally adopt ‘Scott McKinley’.  They renamed him Paul Fronczak, and returned him to the family home in Chicago.

They raised him with loving care, but never talked about their ordeal.  Paul Fronczak had no idea about the kidnapping until he found a box of newspaper clippings years later.  They chimed with his suspicions that he didn’t quite belong – he just didn’t resemble his Polish and Croatian parents.

It was only last year that Paul, now aged 49 and married with a daughter of his own, decided to get some solid answers.  He now lives in Nevada and, while his parents – now in their 80s – were visiting from Chicago, he visited a drugstore and bought a DNA kit.  Half-jokingly, he asked his parents if they had ever wondered if he was really their child.  He then produced the DNA kit.  Perhaps sensing it was time for the truth to be revealed, his parents agreed to provide swab samples.

A week later, a DNA technician told Paul the stunning news that there was no possibility that he was the Fronczaks’ biological son.

Unable to break the news to his parents over the phone, he sent them this impassioned e-mail last week:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Seeking the truth, Paul Fronczak today
Seeking the truth, Paul Fronczak today

I am writing this email to you because this is something very important, and I feel that if I try to speak with you over the phone, you will not fully understand or listen.  First, I am your son, and always will be.  You and Dad have been wonderful parents, and have shaped me into the person I am today.  I love you both and that will be forever.

The DNA test results came back and it turns out that I am not your biological son; I am not the kidnapped baby that you had stolen from your arms on April 27th, 1964.  This means that the real Paul Joseph Fronczak may still be out there, alive, not knowing who is.  This also means that I do not really know who I am, how old I am, and my genetic background or heritage.

I know that this is hard for you, but this is also about me at this point in our lives.  I have been struggling with the fact that I want to know if the real Fronczak baby is still alive and what happened! I also want to find out who I am, and why I was abandoned at a Variety store in Newark, NJ back in 1965.

These questions were getting the best of me so I sent our story in to a remarkable, award winning journalist here in Las Vegas; George Knapp (do a Google search on him).  Mr. Knapp was intrigued by the story and wanted to meet with me.  We met, and spoke for awhile, and he said he would like to run a story on this national, unsolved case.  Mr. Knapp is not like the newspaper men you and dad had to deal with back in 1964; he is a professional, who has a specialty for investigative stories and reporting.

My goal for being a part of this story is based on two separate conclusions; I want to find out if the real Paul J Fronczak is alive and what happened to him; and second: to find out who I am, and what happened to me.  This is a national, unsolved case, and with today’s media and technology, we might just be able to solve this.

Wouldn’t you and Dad like to know what really happened, and who I really am?  Like I said, I love you both and you have been wonderful parents.  I am not doing this to hurt you or discredit the fabulous job you both did in raising me… This is just about finding out the truth!

I hope you and dad understand, and would like to help with this story.  I would really love for you and dad to maybe even meet with, and speak with Mr. Knapp.

CBS news is going to run the story on April 25 here in Las Vegas.  I hope that the story will then go national; that would be the only way to possibly solve this terrible crime that took place almost 50 years ago.

I hope you and dad will be with me on this, and be a part of the process.  This is very important to me, and having you and dad with me every step of the way would be the greatest thing I could hope for.

Thank you for all you have done for me in the past, and for the rest of our future together.

Your loving son,


His parents’ reaction to the e-mail was not good.  Paul’s father called him, but didn’t say anything about the content of the e-mail; rather, he was angry that the family would once again be at the centre of a media storm.

Paul hopes, however, they will adjust to the idea, as it is important to him, his wife and his daughter to find out his true identity – his real name, age and nationality – and why he was abandoned.  He also hopes that the Fronczak’s real son (not to mention his kidnapper) can still be found.

He said: “They will always be my parents, great people, raised me the way I am today.  But it’s not just about them anymore.  Not just about me.  It’s about, is their son still alive?  Is he out there?  Hopefully this story can help us find out.”

The kidnapping of the newborn Paul Fronczak reported in 1964
The kidnapping of the newborn Paul Fronczak reported in 1964

Source:  8 News Now

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