Photo Of The Day

Paul Fronczak of Henderson, Nev., looks over documents of his case from his home. (Martin S. Fuentes/For Sun-Times Media)

Photo: ABC News. Paul Fronczak in an ABC interview.

50-Year-Old Mystery

The story of Paul Fronczak involves two mysteries. First, what happened to the real Paul Fronczak, a newborn baby stolen from a hospital in 1964, and second, who is the mystery man in Henderson who, for 50 years, believed that he was Paul Fronczak?

On July 2, 1965, an abandoned male toddler was found in a stroller in front of a store in Newark, New Jersey. Investigators came to believe that the boy was Paul Fronczak, a newborn infant who had been abducted from a Chicago hospital in August 1964.

Paul was reunited with his parents, who raised him as their son. However, as he got older, Paul noticed that he bore no resemblance to the rest of his family, and he began to believe that a case of mistaken identity might have occurred. In 2012, DNA testing confirmed that he had no biological connection with his family and was?not actually Paul Fronczak. Three years later, ?Paul? finally uncovered his true identity, and believe it or not, it only opened the door to another strange mystery.

In June 2015, Paul Fronczak announced that genetic genealogist CeCe Moore had used DNA data banks to match him to his real biological family.

Paul did get help from an unexpected source. He has been on the phone daily with Moore. She is the founder of?The DNA Detectives. The company which has taken the point on the Fronczak case.

?My team and I have worked on this case every single day for the last year-and-a-half. It might have been just a few emails per day or 18 hours a day. It’s been an incredibly long road with unbelievable twists and turns,? Moore said.

Moore and her team scoured all three of the major DNA data banks, including Ancestry.com, to look for a genetic match. A company named Family Tree DNA donated free genetic test kits so the team could pursue numerous leads. Most of them fizzled.

But a possible match found led to the East Coast. Team members cracked the puzzle by building a time machine in a way.

? ?they examine their family trees, building their ancestors forward in time, looking for descendants who were in the right place at the right time to be connected to the person whose family we are searching for,? explains Moore.

Public records confirmed that Paul’s name at birth was Jack. He was one of five children. His parents are both deceased. Two siblings are still alive. But here’s the real shocker.

?I also found out I have a twin sister. My name is Jack. My twin sister’s name is Jill. She’s missing? Fronczak said.

“We have no record of what happened to her. Our research indicates that both her and I mysteriously disappeared before our second birthdays. I was found abandoned in Newark and we have nothing on Jill,? he added.

Paul is not yet releasing the family name. He wants to protect the family’s privacy and he needs time to piece together the larger picture. The relatives he has contacted so far have told him dark tales about his parents. His birth father allegedly warned family members to never mention the twins.

?Both sides of the family were told that the other family had the twins. So no one knew that the twins were missing. Some of the family had no clue that the twins ever existed,” Fronczak said.

He was told that in one family photo album, a page devoted to the twins was literally ripped out. Birth records exist for his sister Jill, but no death certificate.

?It’s one thing to learn who you are, but like I said, it’s bittersweet because, I have a twin sister out there that vanished just like I did. What happened to her, you know??

One scenario being explored is that Paul’s sister might have met with foul play and her death was covered up.

Since the twins? parents are now deceased, there are still no answers about Jack?s abandonment, the unexplained disappearance of his twin sister, or the fate of the real Paul Fronczak.

What Fronczak knows about his past is frustratingly scant. He was left outside a Newark variety store in 1965, taken to an orphanage, and named Scott McKinley.

FBI agents investigating the kidnapping of a one-day-old baby boy from a Chicago hospital decided young Scott and the missing son of Chester and Dora Fronczak had the same ears.

This was in the days before DNA testing, so there was no scientific way to prove the snatched infant and the found toddler were one and the same, but the Fronczaks were convinced and adopted the boy.

It wasn’t until years later that Paul learned about the kidnapping, which planted nagging questions about why he didn’t look like his parents.

Paul Fronczak?said that he is set on answering two questions: What happened to the baby spirited out of the hospital by a woman dressed as a nurse on April 27, 1964, and how did he end up parked in his stroller on a New Jersey street corner on July 2, 1965?

Following the first ?20/20? report on the stolen baby in?November 2013, they received hundreds of new clues in its?tip line?from people around the world hoping to help.

This is where Johnnie Harbaugh comes in.

Harbaugh, 65, said his mother was Linda Taylor, a notorious figure in Chicago in the 1970s and 80s, dubbed America?s ?welfare queen? and vilified by President Ronald Reagan. In a televised speech, Reagan said a state government committee accused Taylor of a wide array of crimes and said the committee discovered she used up to 100 aliases and 50 false addresses.

ABC News had begun looking for a connection between Taylor and Fronczak after a vague clue came through the tip line.

?The baby was stolen by a lady known as the ?welfare queen,?? the tip said. ?She had many, many schemes to get money and would have most likely sold the baby.?

Taylor died 13 years ago, and Harbaugh was found living in a Chicago suburb. After looking at the hospital?s baby picture of Fronczak, Harbaugh claimed that not only did he recognize the baby, but said he used to play with the child when he was a teenager living with his mother. Harbaugh said the baby had just showed up one day.

?You know what? He had a name. But we called him Tiger,? Harbaugh said.

Taylor, Harbaugh said, was a master of disguise and could pass for white, black, Puerto Rican or Hawaiian in her schemes to collect fraudulent welfare payments. Sometimes she even posed as a doctor or nurse, he said.

?She had a room with nothing but wigs and nurse dresses and shoes,? Harbaugh said.

After baby Fronczak was stolen from his mother?s arms when a woman came into the maternity ward in the Chicago hospital and claimed a?doctor wanted to see the baby, authorities released a sketch of the mystery woman. Harbough said that except for the nose, the sketch could be showing his mother.

In the 1970s, when Linda Taylor was put on trial for welfare fraud, she actually came under investigation for stealing the Fronczak baby. A local newspaper reported that one of her ex-husbands said that one day in the mid-1960s Taylor appeared with a newborn baby, even though she was not pregnant.

Isaiah Gant, Taylor?s lawyer during her trial in the 1970s, has said that Taylor never admitted anything about the stolen baby, but said he wouldn?t put it past her.

?I?m telling you, the woman was just a chameleon,? he said. ?She could be anything. So I couldn?t rule out the possibility that she could be involved in something like that.?

The FBI has said they are looking back at Taylor?s possible involvement with fresh eyes.

Harbaugh said he didn?t say anything to the authorities about the sudden appearance of the baby because he was in trouble with the law back then.

Harbaugh said the baby disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. One day he came home from school and the child was gone. Harbaugh said he?s ?positive? it was taken by one of Taylor’s boyfriends to Tennessee.

The boyfriend worked for the American Rivet Company and a former employee there confirmed that the man had moved to a small town in Tennessee called Sevierville. However, there have been no records found matching the name Harbaugh had given in Sevierville.

Today, Harbaugh said he regrets he didn?t take action five decades ago.

?I mean, there?s nothing I could say to them. I couldn?t apologize enough for not turning her in,? he said.

Those who crossed paths with Linda Taylor believe she?s capable of absolutely anything. They also hope she?s dead.

According to Reagan, it was revealed that this woman (he still didn?t identify her by name) had operated in 14 states using over 100?names, claimed to be the mother of 14 children, was using 50 addresses ?in Chicago alone,? and had posed as an open-heart surgeon. She also had ?three new cars, a full-length mink coat, and her take is estimated at a million dollars.?

Now, years after his mother died, there?s one mystery that Johnnie Harbaugh isn?t sure he wants to solve. Johnnie Gilbert Harbaugh?s birth certificate says he was born on Jan. 7, 1950 in Blytheville, Ark. That document, though, wasn?t issued until May 29, 1957.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to file for a delayed birth certificate?it?s possible that Johnnie?s birth, in rural Arkansas, wasn?t recorded right away. Johnnie?Harbaugh?s mother, though, once used just such a document as a means of deception: In the 1960s, she procured a delayed birth certificate to prove she was ?Constance Wakefield,? Lawrence Wakefield?s daughter.

When he was a child, Harbaugh says, he?d see birth certificates just lying around the house. Is his own birth record a phony?

?I might have even been somebody else?s kid,? he says. ?She might have grabbed me when I was a baby.? He thinks it?s likely he was stolen, that he belongs to someone else. ?I?ve always felt like that, even as a kid, even as far back as I can remember.?

Over the years, he says, he had several people back in Arkansas pull him aside and say they?d tell him his life story one day?who he is, and who his mother is. But those conversations have never happened. Now, most of the people who might know the truth are dead.

At one point, he says, that none of it really matters. ?Not to me it doesn?t,? he says. ?I got a last name, and that?s all that matters to me.? Then he changes his mind, saying it might be nice to know the truth. Maybe his real parents are out there. Maybe they?re good people. Maybe they miss their son. ?Hey,? he says hopefully, ?maybe they?re rich.?

October 27th!

Tomorrow is a very big day… Tomorrow is my Birthday! My real birthday. This is the first time in over 50 years I will be able to celebrate this day! This is also the Birthday of the most wonderful woman in this world, the woman who raised me…

Dora Fronczak! How ironic; I share the same Birthday as my adopted mother.

It’s also the Birthday of my biological older sister! Which leads me to the most sorrowful Birthday wish… and that goes to my twin sister Jill… Happy Birthday Jill! I will find you. I don’t know where the road will lead but I will find you! I am still searching for biological Paul as well… this isn’t over…

So, this morning when you wake up.. hug the person next to you.. tell them you love them! Enjoy every second that you have with them. And when you are done for the day and winding down, do it again! If they aren’t with you, call them, FaceTime, skype, do what you can, but let them know you love them! Life is so short… We only have now to make a difference!

Thank you all for following my story, and for posting tips and comments. I am very grateful.
Stay tuned….
PJF/Jack

‘My main goal for this entire project is to find the real Paul,’

‘My parents raised me and they did a great job and I feel that if I don’t do everything I can to help find their real child – then I’m not doing my job as a son.’

Video: Fronczak’s Puzzling Life Story

The Welfare Queen

Stolen at Birth: Who Is the Real Paul Fronczak?

Who is Paul Fronczak?

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