This story was originally posted on 8NewsNow.com on Jan. 16, 2015.
HENDERSON, Nev. — A local man who has been searching for his true identity and blood relatives is one step closer to finding answers.
The story of Paul Fronczak was first investigated by the I-Team in 2012 and has since been re-told by news outlets all over the world. Since then, the man who thought he was Paul Fronczak has been getting a lot of help from genealogy experts and DNA sleuths.
The story involves two mysteries. First, what happened to the real Paul Fronczak, a newborn baby stolen from a hospital in 1964, and second, who is the mystery man in Henderson who, for 50 years, believed that he was Paul Fronczak? Teams of DNA detectives are close to getting some final answers.
“I get recognized now and then,” Paul Fronczak said. “It’s always, ‘hey, you don’t know your name, that kind of thing’ and I’m like, yeah, I don’t.”
It’s been a long strange trip for Fronczak, and it’s not over yet. Since the I-Team first started digging into his bizarre saga back in 2012, his tale has been retold by media outlets all over the world. He thought the case would have been solved by now.
“I didn’t foresee years,” Fronczak said. “It’s been quite a ride.”
The mystery begins in Chicago 1964. A son, Paul, is born to Dora and Chester Fronczak at a Chicago hospital. A day later, a woman dressed as a nurse entered the hospital and walked out with baby Paul. A massive investigation was launched, thousands of suspects interviewed, but the kidnapper and child vanished.
Eighteen months later, a young boy was found abandoned on a street in New Jersey. He was given the name Scott McKinley. Lawmen thought he might be Paul, and that was good enough for the Fronczaks who adopted him. It was a loving family, but as he grew older, Paul suspected that he didn’t quite fit in. It wasn’t until 2012 that he acted on it by asking his parents to take a home DNA test. The results confirmed he wasn’t Paul Fronczak after all.
“I was actually at work when I got the results and the next hour, I was kind of sitting there staring at my desk, you know,” Fronczak told the I-Team in August 2013.
8 News NOW created a Facebook page and tips started pouring in. A media furor prompted the FBI to reopen the case. Paul submitted to many other DNA tests. genealogy giant ancestry.com agreed to help and so did other DNA detectives, including CeCe Moore, whose personal interest in genealogy blossomed into a consulting career and regular TV appearances.
Since she entered the case, Moore and Fronczak have stayed in touch nearly every day.
“This has got to be the most complicated and difficult search I’ve ever been a part of,” Moore said.
Last year, the vast DNA data base of ancestry.com found a needle in a haystack; a genetic match between Paul and a New York man named Alan Fisch. The Fisch family wanted to help but Alan had been adopted and didn’t know his birth parents. Worse still, he died suddenly. But something amazing happened. Enter Aimee Gourley, who had been working with the family of Alan Fisch to find his parents and who had seen a story about Paul Fronczak on TV. Aimee was astonished to learn that she is a DNA match to Paul and Alan. Working with CeCe Moore, Aimee managed to do the impossible and found Alan Fisch’s birth father. Subsequent DNA tests have confirmed the connection to Paul.
“Alan was adopted, so it’s a miracle we tracked him down. No adoption records. No one wanted to come forward,” Fronczak said.
It’s confirmed that Alan is Paul’s second cousin. Paul has even communicated with Alan’s biological father.
The father lives on the East Coast and is likely a first cousin to Paul. His identity is being shielded to allow for DNA tests on other family members. Moore thinks that because Paul was abandoned as a child, someone in the family tree is not likely to cooperate. Ditto for Alan.
“It’s possible the father didn’t know Paul existed. The mother would know he existed. Because of that, we are not likely to hit on a mother who is willing to test but we might get a family member who is willing,” Moore said. “We are very close to getting this solved now.
Paul is urging people to continue to check the Facebook page.
“All of a sudden, boom, we found his dad, a first cousin once removed possibly. It brings it also much closer and now we have something to work with,” Fronczak said. “There are no small tips. Everything helps. You just might have that small piece of information that solves this.”
Additional testing on Paul’s newly found cousin should soon tell who their mutual grandparents were, and that’s when this part of the mystery will be solved.
Paul Fronczak says his main goal has always been to find out what became of the baby Paul so he could bring closure for his parents. Some news leads have come into the Fronczak Facebook page and he is hopeful they will lead to some answers.