'We remain hopeful we're going to find him alive,' says father of missing Crystal Lake boy

The father of a 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy missing since last week said Sunday he is continuing to search the neighborhood surrounding his home and "has full faith" in local police and federal authorities investigating the disappearance.

Andrew "AJ" Freund was reported missing Thursday morning from his home on the 0-100 block of Dole Avenue. His parents told police they last saw AJ about 9 p.m. Wednesday. When they woke up Thursday morning, the boy was gone, they told police.

After an exhaustive search of the surrounding area Thursday, police on Friday said they were shifting the focus of their investigation to the family home.

On Sunday, Andrew Freund Sr. said he would continue searching until the boy is found.

"We remain hopeful we're going to find him alive," he said as he walked the neighborhood expressing frustration with the search's lack of success. "The neighbors saw nothing. Nobody saw anything. Amazing."

Law enforcement is doing as much as it can, he added.

"I have full faith in the Crystal Lake Police Department and the FBI and every other law enforcement agency that's involved," Freund said. "They're good people and they know what they're doing."

The yard in front of the family home Sunday was adorned with a memorial to AJ featuring stuffed animals, candles and a sign that reads "Dear God, Bring AJ home safe and sound!" along with a quote from Scripture and two hearts.

Police on Sunday offered no additional information about their investigation. Andrew Freund Sr. spoke with police Saturday, but ABC 7 reported Sunday that neither of AJ's parents is cooperating with investigators at this point.

George Kililis, an attorney for AJ's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, said she stopped cooperating on his advice because he worries investigators consider her a suspect. He and Cunningham appeared on "Good Morning America" Sunday to discuss the case.

"I just want to be home together," JoAnn Cunningham said. "I just want my kids. That's all I have. That's my life."

Kililis added in the "Good Morning America" interview, "The only message there is to send is for him to please come home."

AJ is approximately 3 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 70 pounds. He has short, blond hair and was last seen wearing a blue Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants.

Anyone with information should call Crystal Lake police at (815) 356-3620. An anonymous tip can be sent by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411).

• Daily Herald staff writer Lauren Rohr contributed to this report.

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Andrew Freund Sr. attended a vigil Saturday evening in Crystal Lake for his missing son, 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund. Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago
  A memorial sits outside the Crystal Lake home of Andrew "AJ" Freund, a 5-year-old boy missing since Wednesday night. AJ's father said Sunday he remains hopeful the boy will be found alive. Steve Zalusky/
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