The Korea Herald


Son seeks real identity after DNA testing

By Korea Herald

Published : Aug. 9, 2013 - 20:19

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CHICAGO ― In April 1964, Paul Joseph Fronczak, less than two days old, was kidnapped from a Chicago hospital by a woman posing as a nurse.

A few months ago, in a way, he vanished again. Because of a DNA test taken this April, Paul Fronczak learned that he is a Fronczak only in name.

After getting the test result, he realized “I didn’t know my birthday. I didn’t know anything about me,” he said.

The mystery over Fronczak’s identity began 49 years ago in hospital room 418B at the former Michael Reese Hospital on the Near South Side.
Paul Joseph Fronczak Paul Joseph Fronczak

A woman disguised as a nurse told Dora Fronczak that the doctor wanted to examine her baby, Chicago Tribune archives show. So she handed the newborn boy over ― and he was never returned.

An extensive FBI and Chicago police search ensued and 14 agonizing months later, authorities found a toddler abandoned in Newark, New Jersey, who resembled Dora and Chester Fronczaks’ missing child. The FBI determined that the boy was likely Fronczaks’ missing son.

But Paul Fronczak said he knew something was off growing up. Although his brother was the spitting image of his father, Fronczak looked nothing like his parents. He didn’t think he looked very Croatian or Polish, his parents’ ethnicities. When he was 10 years old snooping for Christmas presents, he found newspaper clippings about his supposed abduction and return to his parents.

But his parents didn’t talk about it, Fronczak said.

At age 49, he finally worked up the nerve to ask his parents to take a DNA test.

Dora and Chester Fronczak agreed to have their cheeks swabbed with a kit Fronczak had picked up at a local pharmacy.

The phone call from a lab in Utah came when he was at work as a college administrator. “They told me there was no remote possibility those were my parents.”

It was as if Paul Fronczak had been stolen all over again.

Fronczak said he decided to go public with the story because he wants his parents’ biological son to be found.

“The most important thing to me... is to try and locate the real Paul Fronczak,” Fronczak said. “If I’m lucky enough to figure out who I am during the process. That’s a benefit. I actually want to solve a tragedy that affected two wonderful people.”

The FBI said Wednesday it is reopening its investigation into the 1964 kidnapping of the newborn boy. 

By Ellen Jean Hirst and Andy Grimm

(Chicago Tribune)

(MCT International Services)