DNA tests prompt reopening of US baby kidnap case 'solved' in 1964
By Jon Swaine | Daily Telegraph | Published: 09th August 2013 02:41 PM |
The FBI has re-opened an inquiry into the disappearance of a baby in Chicago in 1964, after a man who was reunited with the parents at the time discovered at the age of 49 that he was not their son.
The man who has lived his life as Paul Fronczak was handed to Chester and Dora Fronczak 14 months after their new baby was kidnapped by a woman posing as a nurse in a Chicago hospital in April 1964.
He had been found abandoned on a street corner in Newark, New Jersey, following a mass search in which the FBI interviewed hundreds of people and examined some 10,000 babies.
Lacking today’s sophisticated techniques, agents said the New Jersey baby’s ears resembled Paul’s. Mrs Fronczak was reported at the time to have taken one look at him and said: “That’s my baby”.
Yet having long wondered why he did not look like his parents, Mr Fronczak, who is now married with a child of his own, took a DNA test earlier this year and found they were not, in fact, related.
The disclosure shook the family. “You and Dad have been wonderful parents, and have shaped me into the person I am today,” he wrote in a letter to Mrs Fronczak. “I love you both and that will be forever”.
However Mr Fronczak, who works as a college administrator in Henderson, Nevada, now has no idea of his true identity, age or birthplace — or who his real parents were.
“It has really started consuming my thoughts,” he told his local television station. “’Who am I?’ But more importantly, is the real Fronczak baby still alive? Is he out there? And if he is, can we find him and reunite him with my mom and dad?”
Joan Hyde, a spokesman for the FBI’s Chicago office, said while a new inquiry was bound to “take time”, agents were determined to get to the bottom of what happened to the Fronczaks’ baby.
“We decided it merited another look,” she said. “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.”
None of the Fronczaks was available for comment on Thursday. However Mr Fronczak, who is seeking a match to his DNA on genealogical databases, has said he is optimistic both mysteries can be solved.
“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 told The Chicago Tribune. “It would also be nice to have an actual birth date that I could believe in”.