I-Team: Man Tells Parents He's Not Their Son - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Man Tells Parents He's Not Their Son

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Paul Fronczak as a young boy. Paul Fronczak as a young boy.
Paul Fronczak decided to tell his parents the results of their DNA test. Paul Fronczak decided to tell his parents the results of their DNA test.
A mother of a kidnapped baby A mother of a kidnapped baby
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LAS VEGAS -- For nearly all of his 49 years, he's been Paul Fronczak, but a home DNA test recently revealed that he's a Fronczak in name only. A second, more extensive DNA test could help him find out a lot more about his own history. He's doing it as much for his daughter and wife as for his own peace of mind. But Fronczak is worried about how the news will be received by the kindly couple who raised him.

In the I-Team's attempts to help Paul Fronczak find out who he really is, public agencies in Illinois and New Jersey have been contacted to find out what records they might have to help unravel this perplexing mystery.

So far, agencies in both states have been either unable or unwilling to provide even a single document. Our request for the FBI file on the kidnapping case could take years. In the meantime, Fronczak is doing what he can to fill in some of the missing pieces of his life.

"It was like, ‘You don't need to know,'" Fronczak said. "'You are our son.'"

I-Team: "So, as far as they are concerned, you always will be.

Fronczak: "Absolutely. They are great parents, but I would really like to…."

View a Timeline and Newspaper Clippings of the Fronczak Case

Scan through the hours of old family movies and it's clear that the parents, Chester and Dora Fronczak, provided a loving family life for the boy who was stolen from them, then miraculously returned. Christmases, birthdays, family vacations, and it's because they were such good parents that telling them about the DNA test results is going to be so hard.

I-Team: "You haven't told them yet?"

Fronczak: "No, I haven't. My dad is 82, my mom is 80, or 79, but I feel like even though it is probably going to throw them for a loop, they are going to be happy to know, because they had to be thinking about this their whole lives."

The story reads like a movie script. One day after Paul Fronczak was born in a Chicago hospital, a woman dressed as a nurse kidnapped him and was never seen again, despite a massive nationwide manhunt and FBI investigation. Two-and-a-half years later, a youngster was found abandoned outside a store in Newark, N.J. This was before DNA testing existed, so authorities took an educated guess that maybe the boy in New Jersey was the missing Fronczak baby.

"I'm thinking, honestly, what are the chances that out of the kidnapped baby in Chicago, I am their kidnapped baby found in New Jersey two-and-a-half years later," he said. "It's pretty wild."

Because there wasn't proof positive, the Fronczaks had to adopt the boy they believed to be their own son. They raised him well, but never wanted to talk about it again.

"If I could get an answer for them, that would be the best gift I could give them," Fronczak said. "It's a sad thing to tell them, but it could be a great thing at the end."

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Fronczak decided that a phone call simply wouldn't do. So he wrote an impassioned letter to explain why he is pursuing the truth.

Reading his letter aloud, Fronczak said, "I have been struggling with the fact that I want to know if the real Fronczak baby is still alive, and what happened. I also want to find out who I am and why I was abandoned at a variety store in Newark, N.J. back in 1965."

The reaction to his letter was not good. Fronczak said his father called but didn't say anything about the substance of the letter; instead, he was angry that the Fronczaks might once again become the focus of a media frenzy.

Fronczak: "It didn't go quite the way I was hoping to."

I-Team: "They didn't really react to what was in the letter, though, did they?"

Fronczak: "No. The only thing that has my parents concerned is reporters. Because they had a really bad experience back in '64. Reporters sleeping on their lawn."

Fronczak said he hopes his parents will adjust to the idea once it sinks in. And he hopes the public can help him found out who he is and why he was abandoned. It's important for his wife and daughter to know, too.

"I will tell you that when she was born in a hospital, I didn't let her leave my side once," Fronczak said. "I didn't care how many credentials were flashed in my face. Right, Emma?

"They will always be my parents, great people, raised me the way I am today. I just think it would be really cool if we found the kidnapped baby."

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