LAS VEGAS -- A multi-level mystery that exploded into an international media sensation nearly half a century ago is big news once again.
The I-Team first reported the story of Henderson resident Paul Fronczak earlier this year.
A DNA test taken by Fronczak and his parents revealed that he is not the person he thought himself to be.
8 News NOW launched an investigation to help Fronczak find out who he is and what might have happened to his namesake, a baby kidnapped in 1964.
The story is finally percolating on several levels.
The I-Team told Fronczak from the beginning that his story would make national news once the initial reports received broader exposure.
It took awhile, but that's exactly what has happened. 8 News NOW's phones are ringing off the hook with calls from other media outfits who want to interview him or join the investigation. But there are two other developments that might be even more promising in the long run, as Fronczak struggles to mend fences with the loving couple who raised him.
For the last few weeks, it's been tough to speak to his father and mother.
"Basically, what she said was, if they don't talk about it, it never happened," Fronczak said. "That's the feeling I'm getting, that she doesn't want to bring it up because then she has to admit that it was real."
Fronczak is in a delicate spot with the Chicago couple he still thinks of as his parents, even though a DNA test conducted months ago proved beyond any doubt that he is not the biological son of Chester and Dora Fronczak. Their baby was kidnapped from a Chicago hospital one day after it was born back in 1964. The kidnapper -- a woman dressed as a nurse -- and the Fronczak baby vanished, despite a nationwide manhunt and an international media frenzy.
When Paul Fronczak broke the news about the DNA results to his parents earlier this year, they didn't take the news well, even though, he believes, they've known, on some level, ever since 1966 when they adopted him after he was found abandoned on a street in Newark, N.J. Since the initial shock wore off, he's had conversations with his parents, though they have largely avoided the elephant in the room.
"We are not talking about the case at all," Paul Fronczak said. "It's just the niceties. How are things in Chicago, and all that."
On other fronts, things are moving fast. The story of the Fronczak kidnapping is once again big news. The initial stories by the I-Team have been picked up by national networks, big city newspapers, and even foreign media including TV outfits in Japan, Australia and Europe. The webpage 8 News NOW created for Paul Fronczak is abuzz with ideas and input from the public. Paul has submitted to additional DNA tests to help track down his genetic heritage for clues about his birth family, the family that, for unknown reasons, abandoned him in Newark in 1965.
The results from the simple, initial DNA test proved disappointing. The analysis by a company called Ancestry by DNA took more than 10 weeks to obtain and revealed that, genetically, Paul Fronczak is 94 percent European. One look at his face could have told us the same thing.
But two much more extensive DNA tests followed. The results are not yet in but Paul Fronczak has been assured that these tests should be able to find any living blood relatives he might have.
One other promising development because of renewed public interest in the case, the FBI told the I-Team it has located the original files on the Fronczak kidnapping and that agents are reviewing the information. The case has not been formally reopened but Paul Fronczak and his family are hopeful that with new technology, the FBI should be able to do today what it could not do 49 years ago.
"There is still hope out here," he said. "There are people we can talk to. Hopefully, someone is going to come forward and the more light we shine on the case, the more we will have a chance of finding something."
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