Man at center of 1964 kidnap mixup finds clues to his identity
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By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer
August 8, 2013 / NBC News
As the FBI dusts off its files on a 1964 kidnapping and reunion mixup, the man at the center of the case has uncovered a tantalizing clue through his own sleuthing.
Paul Fronczak, 49, used a home DNA test earlier this year to reveal that he is not the biological son of the couple who raised him. They had mistakenly believed that a toddler found abandoned in New Jersey was their son, who had been abducted from a hospital in Chicago a year earlier.
Now, Fronczak is using the genealogy website Ancestry.com to discover his true identity and has determined — again with DNA — that a third and a fourth cousin are registered with the site, a spokesman said.
While the Henderson, Nev., college administrator has not made contact with the cousins yet, they would be the first leaves on a family tree that is otherwise bare.
Third cousins share a great-great grandparent and people can have hundreds of them, so Fronczak's search is far from over. Still, the genetic matches derived from a $99 saliva test offered by the genealogy website are his best chance of unlocking a half-century-old mystery.
"The more people that take the DNA test, the higher the probability that Paul will find a second cousin or even first cousin," Ancestry.com said in a statement.
What Fronczak knows about his past is frustratingly scant. He was left outside a Newark variety store in 1965, taken to an orphanage and named Scott McKinley.
FBI agents investigating the kidnapping of a one-day-old baby boy from a Chicago hospital decided young Scott and the missing son of Chester and Dora Fronczak had the same ears.
This was in the days before DNA testing, so there was no scientific way to prove the snatched infant and the found toddler were one and the same, but the Fronczaks were convinced and adopted the boy.
It wasn't until years later that Paul learned about the kidnapping, which planted nagging questions about why he didn't look like his parents. Last year, he decided to get some answers with a $29.99 DNA test made by Identigene, which showed he was not related to the Fronczaks.
He broke the news to them in a heart-tugging email.
"Wouldn’t you and Dad like to know what really happened, and who I really am?" he wrote. "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!"
In the search for that truth, the FBI has now reopened its long-dormant probe into the hospital kidnapping.
"We decided it merited another look," said Joan Hyde, a spokeswoman for the Chicago office. "The main thing is to look at physical evidence and see if technology and tests that weren't available when the case was originally worked could provide leads."
Reached at home in suburban Chicago, Dora Fronczak said Thursday that she did not want to comment on the case.
Paul Fronczak told the Chicago Tribune that he is set on answering two questions: What happened to the baby spirited out of the hospital by a woman dressed as a nurse on April 27, 1964, and how did he end up parked in his stroller on a New Jersey street corner on July 2, 1965?
“I think that the perfect ending would be to find the real Paul, see that he’s doing well and then on the same day find my real family," he said.
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Normally I try to stay away from comments written by those who know nothing about adoption issues, dead baby scams, the history of baby brokers, or the number of stolen babies used for illegal adoption plans... not to mention corrupt adoption lawyers... but today I had to read the comments written here, by those who HAD to say something about the grown man who decided he needed to find his own roots, AND help find the baby that was taken from his adoptive parents, back in the mid 1960's.
For the most part, many of the commenters were supportive and encouraging...sympathetic to the plights late-discovery adoptees have to face.
But of course, there is always that person or group of people who just don't get what it means to be adopted, and what a list of unresolved adoption issues can do to that person, for an entire life-time. There are those who will always believe the adoptee who dares to dig and search is "ungrateful" . [And let's not forget, there are those who will always assume the childhood for the adopted child is always ideal... it's always great and better, and not at all like it is featured on the PPL pages].
I want to share some of the responses that really bothered me...
...these types of responses illustrate WHY so many adult adoptees do not search for the truth until their parents -- both biologic and adoptive -- are dead and buried.
Yes... the ol "Lucky to be Adopted" Routine. How LUCKY to be abandoned or stolen!! How GREAT to learn you were so unwanted, you were given away... with the hope a complete stranger will discover, before it's "too late'. Or worse.... to learn you were STOLEN, then sold through a shady broker/lawyer, all so a childless couple could move-past their own grief. Yea, isn't it just so very lovely and "lucky" how an adoption-story can begin?? <sarcasm>
For most late-adoptees, these individuals never knew they had another set of parents. Sure, they may have had their doubts and suspicions, but the truth was never really spoken. How is one supposed to react when such news is finally received? Is the adoptee not allowed to have many questions? Do questions about the truth and the past really make an adoptee ungrateful? It's sad, in this day and age, so many are against the adoptee who dares to search his for first-family. If parents can love more than one child, why is it so hard to believe an adopted person can love more than one mother... more than one set of parents.... more than two or more families?
A conundrum? Learning a kidnapped child might be alive is a conundrum??? REALLY? Tell that to all the mothers who had their children stolen from them, for ICA purposes and for American adoption agencies. [See: Babysellers ] In this comment, "the kidnapped child" is still viewed as "theirs".... the first-parents... the parents who did NOT get to raise him or tend to him when he was sick. And yet, once a child is adopted, that adopted child is no longer to meet with the first mother and father. Those parents? They no longer exist.
Possession may be 9/10ths of the law, but genetics still mean something -- both to the stolen children, and the parents affected by a kidnapping. There's no confusion or conundrum about that. Resolving a kidnapping MUST be done. It's just that simple.
And my personal favorite, demonstrating just how far we still are from living in a country (which happens to have the highest receiving rate for foreign adopted children) that understands even the most basic of all adoption issues ["how does one communicate to a parent about your own thoughts about your own adoption?"]:
...and people wonder why so many adult-adoptees don't want to share their thoughts about adoption and adoption issues, with Outsiders. I myself am tired of having to provide the forced preamble that, for Political Correctness, must begin with, "I love my adoptive parents more than anyone else in the world... they have been REALLLLY SOOOOOOO great.... but....." the truth is, my APs were never really so great or hot....or different from any other messed-up people forced to raise children. Like their own bio-son, I was abused... a LOT. When I was in my early 30's and finally had the guts to write a letter to my APs about the pain and grief that abuse caused me, did that means to communicate my uninterrupted perceptions make me a dick?
When my "forever parents, through adoption" turned their back and heads, and dropped me from their family, did they do it because that's what an
ungratefuljustifiably angry adoptee should get? Or did they do that because they were self-protecting,reputation preserving pricks?
Personally, I do find the adoptee in this featured story rather lucky. If the news report is correct, and there was no abuse or psycho/unfit Aparent in the picture, this adoptee will be able to meet with a biologic family member and honestly say, "My life turned-out pretty good; my childhood was GREAT!."
How many adopted kids in our Abuse Archives will be able to say that to their own future family members? I know I can't. I can't say many positive things about my adoption-story to unfound siblings, unknown aunts, uncles, cousins, and I most definitely cannot confess certain truths and realities to my husband and own kids who NEED to believe, because of adoption, Baby Girl, 1968 was SAVED from a horrible childhood and youth.
As much as I, and many others, have recovered from many old-school adoption issues, some childhood facts related to adoption are still just too painful to share... with anyone.
Hopefully the abused adoptees we feature within our pages and comments will get the help and support they need and be very lucky.... and different.
And in the meanwhile, I DO hope both men affected by the above featured Search and Recovery Story do find the peace and answers each need.
I really like everything you have written. Thank you kerry