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Happy Birthday, Paul

A composite of what Paul Fronczak might look like today

Hello everyone, it’s Paul. Today is April 26, which is the day that, for 49 years, I celebrated my birthday. From my early kiddie parties to my college birthday bashes to my grown-up birthday dinners, April 26 was my special day.

Even after a DNA test in 2012 revealed that I wasn’t the real Paul Fronzcak—as I long suspected—I continued to celebrate my birthday on April 26, because I still didn’t know who I really was, and didn’t have any other day to celebrate on.

Then, in 2015, the genealogist CeCe Moore called me to tell me that my real name wasn’t Paul Fronczak, it was Jack Rosenthal. When I finally dug up my real birth certificate, I discovered that I was born on October 27. Since then, I’ve celebrated my birthday on October 27.

But that doesn’t mean that April 26 isn’t a very special day for me. It still is.

You see, April 26 was never just my birthday—it was a day I shared with the real Paul Fronczak. The real Paul was kidnapped a day after being born in 1964, and wherever he ended up, he was probably given a new birthday. To this day, he has never been found, and we don’t know what happened to him.

And then, in 1965, I was abandoned on a street corner, and shortly thereafter handed over to the Fronczaks in the mistaken belief that I was their stolen baby. I assumed the real Paul’s life, including his birth date. But even as it became my day, it was always still his day. Without knowing it, or knowing each other, we always shared that day.

Now, more than a half century later, I know my true identity and I have my own birthday. But part of me still shares April 26 with the real Paul. I still feel extremely connected to him, as if we were partners in the same adventure, which, in a way, we were. When I think about the real Paul, I think of him as my friend. I feel for what he’s had to go through, because I’ve had to go through something similar myself. It’s kind of like we are mirror images of each other, both fated to live lives other than our own, both struggling with understanding who we really are. Separate, but connected.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about the real Paul Fronczak. If I could somehow get a message to him, wherever he might be, I would tell him this: Don’t give up. I am looking for you. I will never stop looking for you. And when I find you, we will have a beer together. And we’ll talk about the special day we share every year—April 26.

So today, I want to reaffirm that my search is continuing. Not only for my missing twin sister Jill, but also for the real Paul Fronczak, whose kidnapping remains the oldest unsolved cold-case kidnapping in the history of the U.S.

I work on finding the real Paul every day, following up leads and planning new avenues of investigation. I don’t know if he’s still alive, but I’m determined to find out. I am determined to learn what happened to the real Paul, and to learn what kind of life he lived. His story is my story, and I won’t give up until I solve the mystery. After all, we are friends, and that’s what a friend would do.

Happy birthday, Paul Fronczak, wherever you are.

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