DNA test helps US parents find abducted child after 55 years

(L-R) Chester and Dora Fronczak photographed in 1964; Paul Fronczak after he was born.
(L-R) Chester and Dora Fronczak photographed in 1964; Paul Fronczak after he was born. Photo credit: Getty

For more than 50 years, Chester and Dora Fronczak have wondered what happened to their son Paul.

The couple never saw their newborn baby again after he was abducted by someone posing as a maternity-ward nurse in a Chicago hospital in 1964.

But now, thanks to DNA testing, the family has been reunited, after the middle-aged Paul was found living in a small town in Michigan under a different name.

Although Paul had been missing for more than five decades, for many years the family thought they had found their son.

Two years after his disappearance - in the time before DNA testing existed - a toddler was found abandoned in a shopping centre in New Jersey. Believing the child to be Paul because of his physical appearance, Chester and Dora brought the boy up as their own. 

It was only when DNA testing was done in 2012 that it was revealed the child was not the real Paul at all, reports Newsweek. That child eventually traced his family to Tennessee, though remained an adopted child of the Fronczaks with the name Paul Fronczak.

In 2014, adopted Paul, working with genealogist CeCe Moore, submitted DNA from a close relative of the real Paul in what Moore described as a genetic fishing expedition, according to the Associated Press.

The pair submitted the DNA to the sites Ancestry.com, 23andme.com, MyHeritage.com and FamilyTreeDNA.com.

Last year, they finally heard news that someone matching the DNA had been found, and contact was made through the DNA site.

Moore would not tell the AP whether the DNA match was with Paul or someone closely related to him who had given their DNA to one of the genealogy websites.

She also said Paul's mother, who is in her 80s, had yet to meet her real son again. It is not clear whether Chester Fronczak is still alive. 

"The most important thing is that he and his mother have a reunion," Moore told the AP. "Our greatest wish is for that to happen."

According to the AP, the FBI confirmed that the case remained open, but did not say whether the found man was the same person as the child kidnapped all those years ago.