A Nevada man who has been searching for his true identity finally has some answers.
In 2012, Paul Fronczak of Henderson figured out that he really wasn’t the person he always believed himself to be.
After George Knapp and the I-team first broke the story a few years ago, it’s received news coverage all over the world, but the search for truth has been stymied.
Now, thanks to the expertise of some dedicated DNA detectives, Fronczak finally knows who he is, but along with the answers came new questions and a darker mystery.
Fronczak knows his family name and he knows where and when he was born.
“I do. It’s pretty crazy,” he said.
Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it. His name has been Paul Fronczak for as long as he can remember, but now he knows the truth.
The news came days ago in a phone call from genetic genealogist CeCe Moore.
“She’s like, ‘how you doing?’ I said I’m okay. She goes, ‘What do you think of the name Jack?’ I said that’s a good name. That’s strong. She said, ‘That’s your name.’ And I was just blown away,” Fronczak recounts.
But there were more surprises to come, not all of them pleasant.
The Fronczak saga began in 1964 when a son was born to Dora and Chester Fronczak at a hospital in Chicago. A day later, a woman dressed as a nurse kidnapped the baby, setting off a nationwide manhunt and media frenzy.
More than a year later, a child was found abandoned on the streets of Newark, NJ. The boy was assigned the name Scott McKinley. The FBI thought it might be the missing Fronczak baby. Eventually the Fronczaks adopted the boy in the belief he was Paul. He was brought up in a loving family but always suspected he did not fit in.
In October of 2012, while living in Henderson, Paul used a home DNA kit to confirm that he was not a Fronczak.
He asked the I-Team for help. The news reports generated hundreds of tips and leads to a website and Facebook page, and a new media stampede began.
The I-Team story was reported all over the world, including by CBS news, and later by the ABC network. The FBI agreed to re-open the kidnapping case, but has done little if any follow up.
Paul did get help from an unexpected source. He has been on the phone daily with Moore. She is the founder of The DNA Detectives. The company which has taken the point on the Fronczak case.
“My team and I have worked on this case every single day for the last year-and-a-half. It might have been just a few emails per day or 18 hours a day. It’s been an incredibly long road with unbelievable twists and turns,” Moore said.
Moore and her team scoured all three of the major DNA data banks, including Ancestry.com, to look for a genetic match. A company named Family Tree DNA donated free genetic test kits so the team could pursue numerous leads. Most of them fizzled.
But a possible match found six months ago led to the East Coast. Team members cracked the puzzle days ago by building a time machine in a way.
“ …then examine their family trees, building their ancestors forward in time, looking for descendants who were in the right place at the right time to be connected to the person whose family we are searching for,” explains Moore.
Public records confirmed that Paul’s name at birth was Jack. He was one of five children. His parents are both deceased. Two siblings are still alive. But here’s the real shocker.
“I also found out I have a twin sister. My name is Jack. My twin sister’s name is Jill. She’s missing” Fronczak said.
“We have no record of what happened to her. Our research indicates that both her and I mysteriously disappeared before our second birthdays. I was found abandoned in Newark and we have nothing on Jill,” he added.
Paul is not yet releasing the family name. He wants to protect the family’s privacy and he needs time to piece together the larger picture. The relatives he has contacted so far have told him dark tales about his parents. His birth father allegedly warned family members to never mention the twins.
“Both sides of the family were told that the other family had the twins. So no one knew that the twins were missing. Some of the family had no clue that the twins ever existed,” Fronczak said.
He was told that in one family photo album, a page devoted to the twins was literally ripped out. Birth records exist for his sister Jill, but no death certificate.
“It’s one thing to learn who you are, but like I said, it’s bittersweet because, I have a twin sister out there that vanished just like I did. What happened to her, you know?”
One scenario being explored is that Paul’s sister might have met with foul play and her death was covered up. And there is also the other mystery — what became of the biological Paul Fronczak, the baby kidnapped from the Chicago hospital?
That’s the question that started Fronczak down this path.
We hope to have additional details to release Friday on 8 News NOW and in the days ahead.