Baby kidnapped in Chicago, got to the bottom thanks to DNA
When the newborn Paul Joseph Fronzak was kidnapped from a Chicago hospital in 1964, newspapers throughout America wrote about this horrible story. Two years later, a boy abandoned on the street was identified as a missing baby and returned to the burning parents.
Years later, Paul began to investigate what happened, and he was shocked by what he had learned.
Find in the subfield
Once, when Paul Fronzak was 10 years old, he began to rummage around the house in search of hidden Christmas presents and climbed into the basement, pushing the couch aside. There he found three boxes with some strange letters, newspaper clippings and postcards of condolence.
One newspaper headline read: "Two hundred operations in search of a stolen child." The other was this: "The mother asks the kidnapper to return her child."
He found out on the photo of his parents: they looked younger, and they looked distressed. He then read that their just-born boy, Paul Joseph, was abducted.
"Wow! After all, it's me! ”He thought.
The story is really amazing.
26 April 1964, Dora Fronzak gave birth to a boy in the hospital. Michael Reese in Chicago and spent the whole day with him - during those hours when he did not sleep with other babies in the ward for newborns.
But the next morning, a woman in the form of a nurse came to Dora's ward and took the child to be referred to a pediatrician. No one else has seen this woman.
When the hospital staff realized that there was something wrong, the desperate search for the baby began. However, the hospital administration for several hours did not report anything to the law enforcement agencies or the parents of the child.
At three o'clock in the afternoon, they finally called Dora Chester Fronzak to the factory where he worked as a mechanic.
“My father had to leave work, go to the hospital and tell his wife that their child was gone,” says Paul. “You think you're safe; you're in the hospital.” But this is where your child is abducted. ”
One of the largest search operations in Chicago history began, involving 175 thousands of postal workers, 200 police and the FBI. By midnight, they searched the 600 houses — to no avail.
The find in the subfield, of course, shook Paul, and he ran upstairs with newspaper clippings in his hands to ask his mother if all this was really written about him?
Dora reacted indignantly, telling him to stop prying into his own business. Then she confessed: "Yes, you were kidnapped, we found you, we love you, and this is the most important thing."
Paul realized that it’s not worth talking about it anymore, and stopped talking for the next 40 years. However, this story still aroused his keen interest, and often, when he was alone, Paul went down into the underground and read newspaper clippings about himself.
And it was from the newspapers that he learned the next chapter in this story - exactly how he ended up in the Fronzac family.
After kidnapping the baby, Dora and Chester stayed for a week in the hospital awaiting news. When they returned home, journalists began to hunt them.
Despite such wide coverage of events in the press, the police did not have any versions. The child disappeared without a trace, and gradually the investigation turned.
Then, in March 1966 of the year, almost two years after the abduction, Dora and Chester received a letter from the FBI that a baby was found in Newark, New Jersey, similar in description to their son.
This boy was left in a stroller in a populous shopping center in July of the previous year, and he was given up for foster care, to Eckertz. They baptized him, called him Scott McKinley, and became so attached to him that they thought about adopting him.
But while they haven’t done so yet, a New Jersey police investigator decided to check if this child is the missing baby from Chicago.
The FBI began to check this guess. They did not have any particular data: in the Chicago hospital there was not a record of the blood type of the baby Paul, nor fingerprints of the arms or legs.
All they had was the only photo taken on the day he was born, and the shape of the ear in that photo looked like the ear of a boy brought up in the Eckertz family.
“As a result, they checked over 10 of thousands of boys, trying to find a kidnapped baby, and I was the only one who could not be completely excluded,” says Paul.
Spouses Fronzak were ecstatic from this news. “In those years, the FBI was an elite agency, and if they reported something, they were believed,” explains Paul.
Three months after receiving the letter from the FBI, they got into the car and drove to Chicago to see the boy, who may have been their son, in the children's social service in New Jersey.
All three had a series of psychological tests before the meeting. Dora and Chester were also to receive official permission to adopt a child, who now bore the name Scott.
“The FBI employee brought me into the room, and they gave us time so that we could get used to each other,” says Paul. “After all, my mother spent less than a day with her son until he was stolen.” And suddenly a few years later she sees her baby! ”.
Dora later confessed to Paul that she had the feeling that the whole world was following her.
“She could say:“ I’m not sure, ”and then the child would be placed again in the guardianship system, or she could say:“ Yes, this is my son. ” And even if this were not the case, she would have saved the child from a terrible fate, ”explains Paul.
Dora said this is her son.
“She did what she thought was right, and I’m glad she did,” he adds.
Spouses Fronzak went with him to Chicago and officially adopted him.
They were loving parents, maybe a little too caring, which is understandable. Sometimes this led to clashes.
Paul was sent to a Catholic school, where there were strict rules, and he loved rock music and grew his hair.
One day, when they were arguing about the length of his hair, Dora said: “I wish they would never find you!”.
Paul could not forget this. “Even today, when I think about it, I feel very sad,” he admits.
After graduating from school, Paul left his parents in Arizona and became a bass player in a local rock band. Five years later, when the group broke up, he returned to Chicago, wandered there without work, and a year later he joined the army.
Demobilized, he traveled the country, worked as a salesman, a fashion model, and even an actor, and eventually settled in Las Vegas.
“I moved from place to place at least fifty times, reworked in a hundred places. And wherever I go, wherever I am, those newspaper clippings have always been with me, ”admits Paul.
In 2008, Paul got married a second time, and soon he and his wife, Michel, who worked as a teacher, waited for the birth of their daughter. Paul was in seventh heaven.
However, when the obstetrician began asking about family history, Paul suddenly realized that he didn’t know what to say, because from the very moment he learned about the abduction, he wondered if his parents really were his real parents?
“I actually thought so:“ What is the probability that I'm really the same baby stolen in Chicago? I was found so far from there that it seemed unlikely, ”he says.
Paul always felt like a bit of a stranger. It seemed that his parents were closer to his younger brother Dave. The three of them were quiet, calm, and Paul liked to listen to loud music and ride a motorcycle. And outwardly, they were not similar.
“Dave looked like an exact copy of my father: the same gestures, facial expressions, physique - literally everything. And I wasn’t like any of my parents, ”admits Paul.
“Am I Really?”
Now he was haunted by the question: is he the same kidnapped child?
“For many years I wanted to do a DNA test and compare it with my parents,” admits Paul. “Not because I was unhappy, I just wanted to know the truth.” But I always found some excuse. I did not want to offend them. But then the moment came when I just needed to find out. ”
He was also discouraged by the cost of this procedure, but once in 2012, Paul saw a homemade DNA analysis kit sold in the store and bought a few. And when his parents somehow came to him from Chicago, Paul picked up the courage to talk about it just before they left.
“Have you ever wondered if I really am your son?” He asked them. Captured by surprise, parents admitted that yes, they thought. “Do you want to know the truth?” Asked Paul.
A few minutes later, each of them took a swab from his mouth, and they sealed the samples in test tubes. Then Paul took his parents to the airport.
However, a few hours later, when their plane had already landed in Chicago, Dora and Chester changed their minds. They called Paul and asked him not to send out the test tubes: he is their son, and that's that.
“I kept these tubes in a desk drawer for two weeks. Every day I struggled with myself, because I love my parents, I wanted to respect their request. But sometimes you have to do what you think is necessary. Is there something wrong with trying to find out the truth? ”Says Paul.
In the end, he sent the tubes to the lab.
Paul was at work when he was called to report the results of the check. He answered a series of test questions, and then he was told that there was no, even the most distant, probability that he was Paul Fronzak, the biological son of Dora and Chester.
“I suddenly felt that the earth had left me from under my feet, that the blood had drained from my face. My thoughts were confused, I was sweating, - remembers Paul. “Everything that I knew about myself - my birthday, my medical history, that I am Polish by blood, Catholic, even that I am Taurus according to a horoscope - everything suddenly disappeared, and for a moment I just did not know who I".
The result of the DNA analysis immediately raised two important questions: who were the parents of Paul, if not Dora and Chester Fronzak? And what happened to the real Paul?
Even before Paul reported this news to his parents, he contacted local investigative journalist George Nappa and asked for help. Soon the name of Paul Joseph Fronzak was again in the news headlines across the country.
His family, who avoided the press, was furious, and more than a year no one of them spoke with Paul.
“You have to understand that the main reason I went for this was the desire to find the real child of my parents,” explains Paul. - They were wonderful parents. So the best gift I could give them is to find their missing son. And I could not think of a better way than to turn to the press. ”
One of the consequences of appealing to journalists was that the FBI again resumed the old investigation into the abduction of a child from the Fronzac spouses.
In Chicago, they found 10 folders with investigative materials, but Paul was legally unable to review them due to the fact that DNA analysis confirmed that he was not the stolen child.
He was able to talk to Bernie Carey, the retired FBI employee who was originally involved in this case, and he confirmed that some of his team doubted that they had found the kidnapped child.
Paul was more fortunate in his search for his biological parents.
A group of volunteers called "DNA Detectives" (DNA Detectives) began to be engaged in his business, and completely free of charge.
Under the guidance of genetic genealogy analyst Sisi Moore, the genealogy volunteers conducted a whole search based on Paul's DNA data.
They searched for all sorts of mentions in newspapers and records of acts of civil status, combed social networks and spent hours of telephone conversations.
Despite the fact that Paul was found in the state of New Jersey, genealogy detectives found his family in a completely different state - in Tennessee. Also, DNA analysis revealed in Paul the presence of Ashkenazi in the Jewish family.
“I was sure that there was to be a Jewish ancestor in one branch of his family,” says Moore.
The investigation was progressing slowly, and only after many months the team suddenly made a breakthrough after talking with one of the possible relatives of Paul, who mentioned that there were missing twins in the history of his family.
“That's when we realized that we were moving in the right direction,” admits Moore.
3 June 2015, two years after the start of the investigation, Sisi Moore called Paul.
- What do you think of the name Jack? - asked Sisi.
“Good name, solid,” said Paul.
“So this is your name,” she said.
So Paul found out that he was born Jack Rosenthal, and that he was actually six months older than he thought, because 27 was born on October 1963 of the year.
But that was not all: he had a twin sister, Jill. But she, too, like him, has disappeared.
So now Paul has another person who needs to be found.
“I don’t think that you, having learned that you have a twin, don’t start looking for this person,” Sisi Moore says.
Not just a coincidence
At first, the meeting with his relatives pleased him.
Fond of music Paul was terribly glad that his cousin Lenny Rocco was also a musician. In 1950-ies he was a du-op vocalist.
“For me, this proves best: for your abilities to manifest, such as a penchant for music, for example, it is not at all necessary for you to be raised by your real parents. “They never listened to music in my house, but I always enjoyed it,” says Paul. “I played in rock bands all my life, so when I finally met my real relatives, I immediately sat down and played with Lenny’s team.”
Sisi Moore, who managed to reunite thousands of relatives, admits that she constantly observes this phenomenon.
“People who grew up in families with different lifestyles, meet, and they have so much in common! Says the detective geneticist. - And it's not about how they look. The fact is, what actions they did in life, whom they married or who they married, how they called their children, what profession they chose - down to such strange details as choosing a password for a mobile phone. ”
“I am absolutely sure that much more is written in our DNA than we are aware of. Such things can not be just a coincidence, "she says
However, not all relatives of Paul welcomed him with open arms, and soon he found out that his biological family has an unattractive side.
His mother, Marie, was an alcoholic, and his father Gilbert returned from the Korean War, angry at the whole world.
There were also signs that Paul and his twin sister Jill did not receive proper care from their parents, who had two older daughters, as well as a son who was younger than twins.
Family members recalled that the twins were constantly crying, and one of the relatives said that he had seen how the children were caged.
No one knows exactly what exactly happened, but every time a relative asked for twins, their parents said that one of the relatives was looking after them, although in reality this was not the case.
Paul believes that something terrible must have happened to Jill, and this prompted their parents to get rid of Jack, because, he said, they could not explain why there was only one twin left.
In his book "The Found" (The Foundling) Paul describes all the details of his relentless and sometimes even risky search for answers to all these questions.
At one point he even dug up the whole garden in the house where Rosentali had once lived, hoping to find the remains of his sister there.
“My real parents were not very nice people. I thank them for leaving me, because as a result of this, I ended up in the Fronzac family. They saved my life, ”admits Paul.
Paul made peace with his adoptive parents two years after he found out the results of the DNA test, and then the three of them were able to calmly discuss everything for the first time.
“Now I know that all those events changed my mother. She still carries this guilt for having given her Paul into the hands of that “nurse,” Paul explains. “Even though she understands that in a hospital you usually listen when they tell you to do something.” The nurse says, “I need to take your child,” and you give him away. But this is something with which she can’t accept her whole life. ”
Dora also gave Paul an album with photographs and letters that her wife Eckert gave to her - a foster family that raised Paul for a year after his parents abandoned him and gave him the name Scott McKinley at baptism.
“This album has been with mom all my life, but she never told me about it. Sadness rolls on me, because these are my very first photos. Even my real family does not have any of my photos in early childhood. My grandmother has an album where all the children are in chronological order, and the page with the twins is torn out, ”says Paul Fronzak.
Paul's father, Chester, died last August, but Paul speaks with his mother several times a week. October 27 Dore turns 82 of the year. As it turned out, he and Paul had a birthday the same day.
She has mixed feelings about the book he has released.
“She would not want me to be so frank, but I wrote everything honestly,” admits Paul.
And yet Paul does not give up and intends to get to the bottom of what happened to the child of his adoptive mother Dora. He still pays for the services of a private detective investigating this crime, and says that the next step will be to exhort the body.
In fact, even two bodies.
Paul explains: "We have a very powerful version about the real Paul, and another version may lead us to my twin sister."
Exhumation is a complicated and expensive procedure, but it doesn’t stop Paul because there are too many white spots in this case.
“This investigation is far from over,” he says.
He is now divorced from his second wife, but they have maintained friendly relations. Paul admits that his obsession with investigating his past may have been the indirect reason for their divorce.
“At some point I simply couldn’t do anything else, I was only doing what was connected with the investigation,” says Paul and adds that he has no regrets about anything. - This is something that I have to do. It's easier for me to live. ”
The investigation also helped him to better understand himself and why he could not resist anywhere.
“Those first two years of my life have shaped me: I can part with anyone, leave any job, get out of any situation, and not even look back. It seems to me that this is due to the fact that I had three childhoods, three different “I's” at such an early age. It's all about my adaptability to the situation in order to survive. So that I have tomorrow, ”explains Paul Fronzak.
Sisi Moore also thought more than once about how all these events influenced Paul in infancy and what happened to him in the months when she was examined by the FBI.
“Why did they decide that this is Paul Fronzak? Were there any signs of physical injury on the boy, which could be mistakenly interpreted as being the same kidnapped child, and not some infant from a dysfunctional family? ”She asked.
Daughter of Paul Emma, who is now nine years old, was taken with humor by the news that her dad was actually called Jack, and sometimes calls him that, making fun of him.
However, Paul decided that he would not change his name yet.
“I will be Paul until I find the real Paul. On the day when I find him, I will give him his birth certificate and then I’ll apply for my own. ”
The FBI declined to comment.
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stdClass Object ([term_id] => 12 [name] => In the US [taxonomy] => category [slug] => novosti-ssha)In the U.S.
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