SHARE YOUR STORY WITH PAUL

Paul Fronczak would like to offer advice, insight and any help he can to people who, like him, are on voyages of self-discovery. Please feel free to share your story with Paul by clicking on the link at right. Thank you and good luck. 

THE CRIME AND ITS AFTERMATH

In April 1964, a woman disguised as a nurse walked into a Chicago hospital room and took a one-day-old infant out of the the arms of a young mother named Dora Fronczak. That day, Chicago police kicked off the biggest manhunt in the city's history in an effort to find the kidnapped "Baby Fronczak" 

Weeks passed without any sign of the kidnapper or the infant. Police interviewed several potential suspects, while investigators tested some 10,000 infants around the country to see if they might be Baby Paul. Meanwhile, Dora and Chester Fronczak held a long and lonely vigil, hoping against all odds that their child would be found. But two years after the kidnapping, the case went cold.

Then, in 1965, a young boy was found abandoned in a stroller in front of a department store in Newark, New Jersey. The police officer assigned to the case remembered a newspaper photo of Baby Fronczak and contacted Chicago authorities. The Fronczaks were brought to New Jersey to see if they could identify the abandoned boy as their son Paul. They did, and the boy was handed over and raised as Paul Fronczak.

Still, no tests were available to prove the boy was actually the same child. Nearly a half century later, the man who grew up as Paul decided to take a DNA test, to learn once and for all if he was the kidnapped child. The results proved he wasn't—and left Paul without a clue to his own true identity. Despite the objections of the parents who raised him, Paul set out on a journey to learn who he was, a journey that brought him to genealogist CeCe Moore—and to an empty lot in Atlantic City —in search of the truth

Now, in "The Foundling," Paul describes all the twists and turns of that journey—including the shocking truth about his identity. Yet his book, Paul says, is not simply about his case. It's about a bigger, more universal voyage so many other people like Paul—adoptees, foundlings, lost siblings—must take: a voyage of self-discovery.  "My journey, I realized, wasn’t just mine," Paul writes. "Nor was my desire to know where I came from unique to me. The details of my case may have been more dramatic, but what I longed for was universal. It is, I discovered, a longing built into who we are. We yearn to solve, as best we can, the elemental mystery of identity, the puzzle of all human life—what is it that makes us us?" 

A 1964 headline
Police sketches of the kidnapper
Paul Fronczak's baby photo
The Fronczaks after the kidnapping
Dora Fronczak in 1964
The Fronczaks in 1964
Paul (l) with his father and brother
Paul searching for clues in 2016
Genealogist CeCe Moore
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Dora Fronczak in 1964