MYSTERY WIRE — A southern Nevada man who’s been trying to solve multiple mysteries surrounding his own identity says he’s made a lot of progress in the eight years since his quest began.
Nevadan Paul Fronczak first reached out to the KLAS-TV I-Team eight years ago after the results of DNA tests turned his world upside down. The tests confirmed with 99% certainty he wasn’t a Fronczak after all.
“You know, when I started this, everyone said, Don’t waste your time,” Fronczak said.
The real Paul Fronczak had been kidnapped from a Chicago hospital in 1964, one day after his birth, snatched by a mystery woman dressed as a nurse. The crime prompted an intense nationwide search and generated worldwide headlines, but the crime was never solved.
Two years later, a toddler found abandoned in New Jersey was shown to the still grieving parents Dora and Chester Fronczak. The couple accepted the boy as their missing son, adopted him, and raised him in a loving home.
As he grew older, though, Paul suspected something wasn’t quite right. In 2012, he coaxed his parents into taking home DNA tests. The results shocked them.
Fronczak contacted the I-Team and vowed to find, not only the kidnapped baby, but also his own biological family. “Yeah, this whole journey has been one step forward, two steps back,” Fronczak said in an interview. “We get close to something and maybe someone dies the day we’re supposed to meet.”
Thousands of tips from the public poured into Fronczak’s websites. He also wrote a book about his search called The Foundling.
Most of the tips proved fruitless, but two years ago, in the small town of Manton, Michigan, news stories about the Fronczak mystery struck a chord with one family.
The adult children of a Manton man took DNA tests of their own, and came to the conclusion that their father was the real Paul Fronczak. They reached out to the Fronczak family in Chicago and the FBI was informed and the word spread in their small community.
Investigators working with Nevada’s Paul Fronczak did their own legwork. Various parties in the investigation have compared the results. It appears the man in Manton was the baby kidnapped in 1964.
Eleven months ago, the I-Team was first to report that the Fronczak baby was alive and living in Michigan.
According to WGN in Chicago, he confirmed his identity to the reporters but asked that his name be kept private. Now, in his first interview in more than a year, Nevada’s Paul Fronczak, says he is keeping a promise to biological Paul and will not reveal the name.
“I can’t give his name out yet, ” Fronczak told us, “because it’s, it’s just not, it’s not a good time. But I will say that my mom got to talk to him.”
In a recent interview, the I-Team handed Nevada’s Fronczak a recent news article and photo about the man in Manton. It’s an obituary notice with his name on it, and there’s a photo.
When asked if there was a family resemblance, Fronczak said, “Definitely, definitely a resemblance.”
The photo in question was included in an obituary notice. The name of the deceased is Kevin Baty, who was reportedly born in Michigan in 1964 and died of cancer earlier this year.
Investigators believe Kevin Baty was the kidnapped infant, Paul Fronczak.
Federal investigators in Chicago became aware of Baty back in 2018. When asked about the investigation a year ago, they declined to acknowledge the current identity of the kidnapping victim, in the interests of protecting crime victims.
FBI Chicago spokesperson Siobhan Johnson declined to comment when asked whether agents have confirmed the man in Michigan is Paul Fronczak; but offered this statement:
“Several years ago, the FBI reopened the investigation into the disappearance of Paul Joseph Fronczak. Our investigation into this matter remains ongoing as we continue to pursue all leads. We ask for privacy for the victims as we continue to investigate the facts surrounding this case.”
Nevada’s Paul Fronczak won’t confirm the identity except to say he’s relieved that his long suffering mom Dora Fronczak was able to speak with biological Paul earlier this year, shortly before Kevin Baty died.
“I’ve reached out to real Paul and his children,” Fronczak said. “I sent the real Paul my book. And I heard from my tipsters that he read the book, he liked it, and he let his friends read it. But as far as communicating with me, nothing.”
Nevada’s Paul Fronczak is also pursuing an equally strange mystery involving another member of his real family. After he found his birth family, he learned he had a twin sister who may have been murdered.
George Knapp continues this story Friday night on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas and on mysterywire.com