Update April 25 – The cause of death has been ruled as blunt force trauma to the head.
We now know that AJ was deceased three days before his parent called and said he was missing. He was killed on April 15 after both of his parents beat him and forced him to remain in a cold shower for “an extended period of time,” according to the complaint.
UPDATE – At the presser…Both parents, Andrew Freund, Sr., and JoAnn Cunningham have been charged with murder and battery and Andrew was charged with concealing a death and failure to report a missing child. Chief Black said they interviewed both the mother and the father and information was obtained. Freund Sr. “provided information that ultimately led to what we believe is the recovery of the deceased subject, A.J.,” Black said. The body that is believed to be AJ was found buried in a shallow grave wrapped in plastic. The cause of death is unknown and will be determined at a later date by the coroner’s office, along with a positive identification.
FBI SAC Jeffrey Sallet said at the presser that early on it was decided that “Nobody was going to sleep and nobody would sleep until justice was brought for AJ.”
Cunningham has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death. Freund Sr. has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of a homicidal death and one count of failure to report a missing child or child death.
“Listening to the emotion and the commitment of the team over the last 6 days, brings a lot of emotions to me,” said Sallet. “The emotion of pride to be part of something that is positive, part two is the sadness that we have a dead 5-year-old child that has now been recovered based on the efforts of the investigative work.”
April 24, 2019 – Locals in the area have been posted that there was some searching going on in the Woodstock area. They also stated that the mother was at the police station through the night, and the media tried to question the mother’s attorney as he left the police station and he appeared to be hoarse and worn-out. Social media posted they also saw the police return to the home and take out the family dog, Lucy. Social media has been right on the tail of this whole story and was expecting that the above actions were leading to the discovery of AJ’s body. Then the Chicago Tribune announced a source stated the police have found the body of AJ Freund in an unincorporated area of Woodstock on Gayle Drive on farmland, reports the Chicago Tribune. The location is about a mile away from his home.
Social media had come to the conclusion that AJ was no longer alive after watching the actions of AJ’s father and mother, among many other things. It seemed the police had come to that same conclusion, too, as they concentrated on the search and released no pleas to the public to come search or look for him.
It is thought that the mother went to the police station first to “rat” on the dad. At this junction it seems as though that might have been what happened, as a few news agencies are stating that one parent is blaming the other.
Authorities also returned to the house today and removed a large tub, paper bags, a shovel and a small mattress.
Usually, there is an official announcement by the police before the media releases that someone has been found, but the Chicago Tribune decided to go ahead and release the info they received from an unnamed source in spite of that. This is the first time I have ever known that to happen, so the Chicago Tribune must be 100 percent sure the source has the correct information. A few days ago a Mexican newspaper announced AJ had been found and that turned out to be untrue. It was concluded that the translation from Spanish to English caused the misunderstanding.
RIP in peace, little AJ.
April 22, 2019 – Crystal Lake police said Monday that Cunningham is uncooperative with police. Her lawyer said she has shared everything she knows with authorities and he has advised her to keep quiet.
The police released the 911 call today.
April 19, 2019 – A warrant to search AJ’s home was issued on Friday. It was disclosed that K9s “only picked up Andrew’s scent within the residence indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot.” Also, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said that Andrew had been born with opiates in his system. DCFC has had on and off contact with the family since 2013 when they placed him in foster care till 2015, and the case was closed in 2016. There was contact in 2018, after a complaint of neglect was made but DCFC declared it unfounded.
In a statement, her lawyer said: “Joann is particularly devastated by the Crystal Lake Police Department’s press release that she refuses to cooperate and that as a result, she is a suspect. Ms. Cunningham was physically present with law enforcement beginning the moment CLPD responded to her 911 call Thursday morning, until after 5:00 p.m. Thursday evening. That day Ms. Cunningham spoke with numerous law enforcement officers, both local and federal, and answered every question she was posed to the best of her ability. While law enforcement was conducting a missing child investigation, Ms. Cunningham was eager to participate. When it became clear law enforcement was not conducting a missing child investigation, was not issuing an Amber Alert, had stopped searching for AJ, and considered her a suspect, we did advise her to stop all communications with law enforcement and she did so at our request. This is just us as her attorneys doing our job, not evidence of her wrongdoing, and is not itself suspicious in any way.”
Regarding the home and who lives there which has been speculated on by social media: The home was originally bought by Andrew Freund in 1990 according to property records. Andrew Freund and JoAnn Cunningham bought the mortgage for the 94 Dole Avenue home on March 14, 2017, according to the court records, but have not paid the property taxes. More research shows the home being owned by McHenry County in 2013 and Galaxy Sites buying it from them in 2013. Then Galaxy Site sold it to Andrew Freund and JoAnn Cunningham in 2017. The mortgage holder, Home Sites LLC, shows a default of $98,909 according to the McHenry County, and they are trying to foreclose on the house. In February the house was sold at a foreclosure sale. Andrew Freund is fighting this and will appear in court this Thursday.
Another man, 36-year-old Daniel Nowicki, also is reported to have lived at the home sometime within the past year. Nowicki was arrested in December after he allegedly physically assaulted two nurses and a security guard at the Northwestern Medical Hospital. Cunningham told the Northwest Herald via an email that Nowicki lived there during that time.
Original Story: Andrew “A.J.” Freund, 5, is missing from the 100 block of Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake, Illinois since Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The parents stated to the police that when they woke up Thursday morning he was gone.
The police have searched the neighborhood with K-9s and a dive team searched Crystal Lake, but AJ is still missing.
A unconfirmed report on social media states that several neighbors have reported concerns about AJ and his younger sister to Illinois DCFS. But further research finds that AJ has no younger sister, only two brothers.
Police “expanded the area they consider a crime scene, though they did not offer details about what prompted them to do so, “ABC 7 Chicago reported. The FBI has also joined the investigation.
AJ has blond hair and is about 70 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt with Mario Brothers and black sweatpants.
If you have any information about his whereabouts, please call the Crystal Lake Police Dept. at 815-356-3620.