Above watch a timeline of this complicated story
CHICAGO (WOOD) — The Michigan man who was kidnapped from a Chicago Hospital is still absorbing the news that he was stolen as a newborn 55 years ago.
An investigative reporter with News 8’s Chicago sister station WGN found Paul Joseph Fronczak living under a different name in a small town in rural Michigan.
WGN Investigates reported Wednesday afternoon that it followed several leads to find the man who does not wish to be identified publicly.
News 8 has confirmed that he does not live in West Michigan.
We’ve also learned the breakthrough that led to his identification came when extended relatives in Michigan put some pieces together.
Then, DNA testing confirmed the man was the baby who was kidnapped from his mom’s Chicago hospital room in 1964.
CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist who helped unraveled the mystery, told WGN she always believed the real Paul Fronczak would be identified.
“I always knew this day was going to come because I never believed that the real Paul Fronczak was kidnapped to be killed. I always thought he was kidnapped to be raised by somebody, to be sold, whatever. Someone wanted a baby, not to murder a child. S,o it was always my hope that one day he would be found,” said Moore, whose organization, DNA Detectives, helps people resolve long-standing family mysteries.
DNA Detectives scours the four major consumer genealogy databases to help families trace their roots — AncestryDNA, 23andme, FamilytreeDNA and Myheritage .
“For those people out there who haven’t been able to solve their family mysteries or their identity questions, the power of genetic genealogy should be able to get those answers in time, and the vast majority of people can get those answers now.”
WGN reported the man learned of the evidence pointing to his true identity several months ago.
He disclosed to WGN that he has cancer and said he has “loose ends to tie up.”
The man, now 55, also confirmed that he had been contacted by FBI agents handling the Fronczak kidnapping case.
WGN said the man would not divulge whether he planned on meeting his biological mother, Dora Fronczak, who is now 84 and lives in a Chicago suburb.
His father, Chester Fronczak, died in 2017.
The FBI, declining to confirm the man’s identity nor where he lives, issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon.
“Several years ago, the FBI reopened the investigation into the disappearance of Paul Joseph Fronczak. Our investigation into this matter remains ongoing as we continue to pursue all leads. We ask for privacy for the victims as we continue to investigate the facts surrounding this case.”
The story began on April 26, 1964, when Dora Fronczak gave birth to a baby boy at the now-shuttered Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago.
The next day, a woman dressed as a nurse came into Dora’s room and took away the baby, reportedly to be examined by a doctor. But the woman and baby – Paul Joseph Fronczak – never returned.
Their disappearance sparked the largest manhunt of its kind in Chicago’s history involving 175,000 postal workers, 200 police officers and the FBI who searched hundreds of homes within hours of the crime.
Nearly two years later, the FBI contacted Dora and Chester Fronczak about a toddler who had been found abandoned at a shopping center in Newark, New Jersey. There was little concrete evidence, but investigators thought the child might be the missing baby.
The Fronczaks raised the New Jersey toddler as their own son. But in 2012, the man who grew up as Paul Joseph Fronczak discovered through DNA testing that he is not related to Dora and Chester.
The man who lived his life as Paul Joseph Fronczak for decades now resides in Henderson, Nevada.
Upon learning he was not the kidnapped newborn, he reached out to investigative journalist George Knapp at News 8’s sister station, KLAS, in Las Vegas. The story went national and genealogy detectives began investigating the Fronczak case.
Genetic geneologist CeCe Moore with DNA Detectives determined in 2015 that the man who grew up as Paul Joseph Fronczak was really Jack Rosenthal and he was six months older than he thought.
On Dec. 12, Knapp broke the story that the real Paul Joseph Fronczak had been found living in Michigan.
On Wednesday afternoon, WGN reported that its investigators had fund Fronczak, living under a different name, in a small town in rural Michigan.