CHICAGO (CBS) – The FBI has re-opened a 1964 kidnapping case in Chicago, after DNA evidence revealed the man believed to have been the victim was not the infant who was taken from Michael Reese Hospital nearly 50 years ago.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports Paul Fronczak, now 49 and living in Las Vegas, got the word about three weeks ago that the FBI’s Chicago office was reopening the case to find the person who really is the baby who was kidnapped in 1964.
“The real Paul,” Fronczak said.
He said he believes investigators will be able to solve what he calls “two tragic mysteries”: The kidnapping 49 years ago in Chicago – when a newborn was taken away from Chester and Dora Fronczak – and the mystery of his own true identity.
He was raised by the Fronczaks, after detectives in 1965 found him abandoned in New Jersey, and mistakenly thought he was the kidnapped newborn.
“Honestly, I really feel that we’re going to solve both these mysteries, and I’m very hopeful, and I really feel that it’s time,” Fronczak said. “It’s going to happen.”
The Fronczak saga began in April 1964 at the now-demolished Michael Reese Hospital. That’s where Dora gave birth to her son, Paul. Sixteen hours later, while she was feeding her son, a woman appearing to be a nurse told her the baby was needed for tests.
Dora handed her newborn over. Hours later, she learned her baby had been kidnapped.
A massive FBI hunt ensued. It went nowhere until two years later, when someone found a toddler –- the man who today goes by the name Paul Fronczak — abandoned outside a New Jersey store.
Absolute proof lacking, the couple adopted and raised Paul. But he had doubts, and recently, years after finding newspaper clippings of the kidnapping, he took a DNA test, which revealed he was not Dora and Chester Fronczak’s biological son.
The FBI and Fronczak are hoping DNA will hold other answers.
Fronczak has set up a Facebook page – Who Is Paul Fronczak? – hoping to get clues about who his biological family is.
“I’m on that page every day, and anyone who knows anything, please post it,” he said.
Fronczak said Chester and Dora will always be his parents, but he’s haunted by questions.
“Is the real Fronczak baby still alive? Is it out there?” Paul Fronczak asks.
Chester Fronczak and his wife say they went through this ordeal almost fifty years ago and have no interest in talking about it now.