LAS VEGAS -- A gut-wrenching letter sent by Paul Fronczak to the loving couple that have been his parents for more than 40 years was not well received. Dora and Chester Fronczak were stunned. The father was angry. But Paul hoped they would digest the shocking news and change their minds. They did.
"The DNA test results came back and it turns out that I am not your biological son," Paul said as he read the letter to his parents. "I am not the kidnapped baby you had stolen from your arms on April 27, 1964."
After reading the letter to them, Paul said he wanted to call them everyday, but didn't.
"I wanted to let them settle in a bit," Paul said. "Then I finally called. It was a great conversation."
The Fronczaks agreed to do whatever they can to help Paul figure out who he is, so long as they don't have to talk to any reporters.
They got their fill of paparazzi back in the 1960s, when their story became an international sensation. A woman walked into a Chicago hospital dressed as a nurse, and walked out with their newborn baby. Police and FBI launched a nationwide search for the baby and the kidnapper. Thousands of suspects were investigated. Thousands of babies were examined. The Fronczaks were heartbroken.
More than a year later, in Newark, N.J., an infant was found abandoned outside a store. The FBI began a series of tests on the boy who was given the name Scott McKinley by child welfare officials.
After a year of being moved around within the foster care system, Scott was adopted by the Fronczaks, who believed he was their missing son. They were great parents, Paul said, and he grew up in a wonderful family, but always felt something was amiss.
These days, Paul lives in Henderson, Nev., with his own family, but the unanswered questions still rattle around in his head. A few months ago, almost on a lark, he talked his visiting parents into giving a few swabs for a home DNA test and sent off for the results. The tests confirmed he is not their son, which means he has no idea whom he really is, his name at birth, where his blood relatives are, or the reason he was abandoned.
"I'd like to think who I am, my birthday, how old I am, but more importantly, is the real Fronczak baby still alive?" Paul said. "Is it out there? And if it is, can we find it (and) reunite it with my mom and dad?"
Since the I-Team's stories about the Fronczak's unusual case aired last month, it's been a bit of a whirlwind for Paul. Ideas and suggestions have poured in from the public to the webpage devoted to his mystery. A second, more extensive DNA test was conducted, but the results are not yet complete. And, the case came to the attention of ancestry.com, an online DNA and genealogy site with a massive data base. Experts there agreed to administer a third DNA test.
"It's a beta test that checks for 700,000 markers and I had to fill, it felt like a gallon, but it was avail of DNA spit," Paul said.
Leaders at ancestry.com have told Paul that if he has any blood relatives left alive, they are going to find them.
"They are 100 percent in it," Paul said. "They are like, these markers will get it down to at least a third or fourth cousin in my real family and also finding my surname, the family name."
In the meantime, the I-Team, assisted by its affiliate in New York, has filled in some of the blanks about Scott McKinley, the boy abandoned in Newark. On the day he was left in a stroller on a sidewalk, someone called Newark police with a tip about the baby.
The variety store where he was left thrived for many years but went out of business in the 1970s. The building no longer stands, but the I-Team tracked down the nurse who was photographed with Scott in a snapshot that was seen all over the country. The nurse died six years ago and the caseworker in charge of Scott's time in the foster system is now in her 80s and doesn't remember him. The city of Newark, which presumably has old records which could shed light on the mystery, has been unable -- but mostly unwilling -- to dig into its files.
But, progress has been made, and chances are good that the New Jersey part of the mystery is going to be solved.
"My bag is packed," Paul said. "I'm ready to go to New Jersey. Whatever it takes."
The Chicago mystery is tougher to crack. What became of the Fronczak baby, and the kidnapper? Paul, however, remains optimistic.