At the end of October 1964, Dora Fronczak received a phone call. The person on the other line said they would return the baby if the Fronczaks paid a $10,000 ransom. Police set up a sting with a bag stuffed with cut-up newspaper to resemble the money to capture the suspect.
"But it was a hoax," Garrett said. "They never had the Fronczak baby."
Months after Paul Fronczak was stolen, the nationwide search and relentless police investigation had come up with nothing.
A Little Boy Appears
Fourteen months after the kidnapping, a little boy, who was approximately 15 months old, was found abandoned in a busy shopping area 800 miles away from Chicago, in Newark, N.J.
Initially referred to as "Unknown Male Number One," the child was later placed with a foster family and named Scott McKinley. New Jersey authorities notified the FBI about the abandoned young boy.
The FBI asked for pictures of the boy's ears to compare with a picture of Paul Fronczak, who was photographed with only his left ear visible in the hospital after he was born. At the time, the shape of an infant's ear was thought to be as unique as a fingerprint.
"The FBI contacted my parents and said, 'We think we found…your son,' so my parents had to drive to New Jersey," Paul Fronczak said.
According to adoption files obtained by ABC News in the course of the 20/20 investigation, the Fronczaks believed the abandoned boy was baby Paul, but blood tests "were contradictory" and tests did not prove or disprove the boy was their son, so the Fronczaks were legally required to adopt him.
In June 1966, two years after baby Paul Fronczak was stolen, the couple took the boy home to Chicago, where they raised him as their own, thinking their nightmare was over.
"They brought me back and got me baptized immediately," Fronczak said.
The search for the origin of the abandoned child found in New Jersey ended and the Paul Fronczak case was closed.
A New Quest for Answers
Paul Fronczak was unaware of his kidnapping until he was 10 years old.
"I was looking for Christmas presents and snooping around the house, and I found all these boxes," Fronczak said. "It turned out it was a box of clippings and a bunch of cards and letters all about a kidnapping."
When he asked his parents about what he found, Fronczak said they said, "Well, you were kidnapped. We found you."
The discovery of his kidnapping became a big part of Fronczak's life and left him constantly wondering who he was.
But last year, Fronczak purchased an in-home DNA test at a CVS drugstore and while his parents were visiting convinced them to take the test. "It's something I wanted to do for a long time, but I never really had the nerve to ... ask my parents," Fronczak said.
When he received the DNA test results, Fronczak discovered that there was no remote possibility that he was the real Paul Fronczak.
"I don't know anything about myself," Fronczak said. "I don't know how old I am, my heritage, my birthday ... all these things that people take for granted."
Since finding out he was not the real Paul Fronczak, he admitted he has become obsessed with searching for the real Fronczak and finding clues about his own real identity. The FBI has also re-opened the case.
"My main goal for this whole project is to find the real Paul," Fronczak said. "My parents raised me, and they did a great job."
"I feel that if I don't do everything I can to help find the real child, then I'm not doing my job as a son."
ABC News Anchor Barbara Walters and Chief Investigative Reporter Brian Ross are investigating the case. Do you have any tips on this case? Click here to send them to ABC News.
You can also contact the FBI by emailing Chicago@ic.fbi.gov or calling 1-800-CALL-FBI. You can see another age-progression picture of the real Paul Fronczak at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.