The Bizarre Case Of Paul Joseph Fronczak's Kidnapping

When a family welcomes a new baby, it is often a pretty big deal. Congratulations are given, and celebrations are thrown in anticipation of the big arrival. Picture the excitement and joy your family feels when your little one finally arrives. Now imagine that happiness abruptly ending because your baby disappears without a trace. This awful scenario, unfortunately, became reality for the Fronczak family in 1964.

The family's baby boy was kidnapped straight from the hospital just 36 hours after he was born, according to The Charley Project. The abduction of this missing boy immediately became national news — everyone was looking for him, and at the time, it was the largest manhunt in Chicago's history. But what happens next is incredible, and neither the police, the public, or the Fronczak family could have anticipated or imagined the unbelievable story that would unfold from the bizarre kidnapping of this precious boy (via The Foundling).

An Unimaginable Crime With A Miraculous Ending

On April 26, 1964, Dora and Chester Fronczak's world was turned upside down and inside out when their newborn son, Paul, disappeared from the hospital just over a day after his birth. According to Newsweek, a nurse walked into Dora Fronczak's room at Michael Reese Hospital and stated that she needed to take baby Paul to be examined by a doctor. Dora handed over her son, and the nurse left. She never returned, and neither did the child.

Turns out, this "nurse" was a woman in disguise who literally kidnapped this baby from the arms of his mother. Police tested approximately 10,000 babies across the country and searched for Paul while his parents hoped their son would be found, per The Foundling. Unfortunately, the trail went cold for about two years. Then a miracle of all miracles happened — a little boy was found in a stroller in front of a department store in New Jersey in 1965. The Fronczaks identified the boy as their missing son and took him home, thrilled to have their child returned to them.

Family Secrets

Sounds like a happy ending, right? In most cases, this would have been just that — the end of one family's nightmare. However, this is no ordinary story, and what ended up happening is something straight out of a suspense or mystery novel.

The boy the Fronczaks brought home in 1965 had no idea about his ordeal or the unusual circumstances surrounding his birth until he was about 10 years old. According to The Sun, young Paul came upon a box, and inside he found newspaper clippings about the case. When he asked his parents about it, they explained things very simply: Yes, he had been kidnapped, but then they found him, so they were reunited; all he needed to know was that they loved him. Indeed, the Fronczaks loved and raised Paul alongside his younger brother, but from that day forward, Paul was never totally sure of his identity.

Mistaken Identity?

As he grew into an adult, Paul continued to have doubts about whether or not he was truly the Fronczak family's missing son. Keep in mind, when he was found at that New Jersey shopping center, it was 1965, and DNA testing wasn't really a thing. According to The Foundling, there were no other real tests to help identify missing persons, much less children. The couple identified the baby as theirs based purely on facial similarities and the shape of his ear, per The Sun.

It was not until 2012 that Paul finally decided to get some answers about his family history and identity. He picked up an over-the-counter DNA test and shared his doubts with his parents. They all did the cheek swab and decided to accept the results, whatever they may be. The results of the DNA test came back and showed that there was no way he was the real Paul Fronczack.

A Family Reunited

As a result of the DNA test, Paul set out to find out exactly who he was and where he came from. He also made it his mission to find out who and where the real Paul Joseph Fronczak really was. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Paul admits to becoming dedicated to his search to the point of borderline obsession. However, all of his hard work did eventually pay off.

In a Michigan town, there lived a man named Kevin Baty, whose family suspected that he might be the missing baby. Subsequent DNA testing proved that Baty was actually Paul Fronczack. In 2019, Donna Fronczak first heard the voice of her son — who went missing all those years ago — in a phone call. Mother and son then made plans to meet, but they never got the chance due to Baty being diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in April 2020.

A New Mystery To Solve

While Paul Fronczak succeeded in reuniting a mother and son, there are still a few questions about his own identity. The Chicago Sun-Times tells us how during his search, Paul utilized a team of genealogists who helped him locate some of his own relatives and who he was. These include his parents, who were deceased, and some siblings, including a twin. Eventually, "Paul" found out he was really Jack Rosenthal.

You would think that once he discovered who he was, Paul (Jack) would have all the answers he needed, right? Wrong. As it turns out, there is now another mystery to solve. Remember how Jack now had a twin? According to The Sun, his twin sister, Jill, also went missing, reportedly after being neglected by their parents. He has now devoted himself to finding his missing sister. Paul's (Jack's) incredible story continues as he searches for the rest of the truth about his life before he was taken in as the Fronczak family's son.