He solved one mystery, but doing so only birthed a second. Birth is at the heart of Paul Fronczak's story. As a 10-year-old Chicago boy he stumbled upon three boxes in his home's crawl space that told quite a story: His mother Dora had on April 26, 1964, given birth to a son named Paul. Someone dressed as a nurse retrieved the newborn at some point the next day and then vanished. Vibeke Venema writes for the BBC that the "biggest manhunt in Chicago's history" ensued, with 175,000 postal workers participating. The baby—who hadn't been footprinted or fingerprinted—wasn't found. All that remained was a photo showing the shape of the boy's ear, an ear that seemed to match that of a child abandoned in Newark, NJ, in July of the following year. The FBI told Dora and Chester Fronczak their child had been found.
But doubt lingered, at least on Paul's part. "I was found so far away, it just seemed so unfathomable." In 2012 he asked his parents to swab their cheeks as part of a DNA kit. They did so, and the results confirmed that doubt: He wasn't the real Paul Fronczak. Genetic genealogists began assisting him with his case, and after two years of work came the big news: He was really Jack Rosenthal, born Oct. 27, 1963, as a pair of twins who had vanished. His twin, Jill, hadn't been found. Paul (he still goes by Paul) learned there was abuse and neglect in his family, and his suspicion is that something happened to Jill and so he was abandoned "because they couldn't explain just one twin." He remains on the hunt for Jill and for the real Paul, and "the day I find [him], I'm going to hand him his birth certificate, and I'm going to claim mine." Read the full story here. (Read more Longform stories.)