“How do you like the name Jack?” the woman on the phone asked.
On April 27, 1964, a nurse came into the hospital room of Dora Fronczak, who had just given birth to her young son, Paul. She told Mrs. Fronczak that it was time to take the baby to the nursery (at that time newborns did not stay in the room with the moms), took the baby, and left. A few hours later, another nurse came into the room to take young Paul to the nursery. It was then that everyone realized a mother’s worst fear: her infant had been stolen.
Written by: Michele Arduengo, Promega
Authorities were able to determine how the woman left the hospital and that she got into a cab, but they were never able to find the woman. However in 1965, a small toddler-aged boy was found, abandoned outside a store in New Jersey. DNA testing was not yet available, and blood tests were inconclusive. It was the shape of the child’s ears that caused authorities to believe the baby could be Paul Fronczak. The toddler was eventually sent to live with the Fronczaks in Chicago, and the case was considered closed.
However, as an adult, Paul Fronczak, began to suspect that the couple who raised him were not his biological parents, and in 2012 Paul underwent DNA analysis to test his suspicions. The results showed that indeed, he was not the biological son of Dora and Chester Fronczak. His next step was to enlist the help of a genetic genealogist to assist him in finding his true biological parents and his identity.
By conducting “familial searches” using commercially available DNA databases like 23andMe and AncestryDNA and many resources, the genealogist’s group found a match to his DNA on the east coast. Further ground work uncovered that this family was indeed Paul’s…now Jack.
The knowledge of Jack’s true identity, didn’t bring with it a joyous union of the adoptive family who had raised and loved Jack (as Paul) with the biological family who had pined for him over the years as many might imagine.
Jack’s biological parents and one of his siblings had passed away, and much of his story with them. The story that remains is one of mystery and intrigue. He has a twin sister, and he and his twin sister went mysteriously “missing” around age two. His biological parents told the father’s side of the family that the twins were with the mother’s family, and not to ask questions. Similarly, they told the mother’s side of the family that the twins were with the father’s family and also not to ask questions. The disappearance was never reported. Family albums that had pictures of the twins were altered to remove any evidence that the children ever existed. Jack, does not know what became of his twin sister, Jill.
Jack knows his biological origins, but he doesn’t know why he was abandoned or what happened to his twin sister. And, the Fronczaks still do not know what happened to Paul Joseph Fronczak, stolen from his mother’s arms that day in 1964. A stolen baby case now cold again. A new mystery and another missing person. At the center of it all lies DNA.
Jack’s story is powerful, and like any powerful story, it spurs discussion and imagination. Don’t miss ISHI 31 where both CeCe Moore and the man raised as Paul Fronczak will present all the twists in this case during the keynote presentation.
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