What we know about Andrew 'AJ' Freund's death

  • Andrew "AJ" Freund.

    Andrew "AJ" Freund.

  • McHenry County Sheriff's officers and other law enforcement search the area of Route 176 and Dean Street south of Woodstock Wednesday morning with a drone.

      McHenry County Sheriff's officers and other law enforcement search the area of Route 176 and Dean Street south of Woodstock Wednesday morning with a drone. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 4/25/2019 10:08 PM

The parents of Andrew "AJ" Freund are accused of beating and killing the Crystal Lake 5-year-old who had been missing for seven days.

Here's what we know so far about the investigation:

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• AJ's body was found Wednesday wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in a field -- a semirural area off Dean Street north of Route 176 -- roughly seven miles northwest of the boy's home on the 0-100 block of Dole Avenue.

• Parents JoAnn Cunningham, 36, and Andrew Freund Sr., 60, are being held on a $5 million bond each after a court hearing this morning in McHenry County. They face multiple charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and failure to report a missing child or child death. Freund Sr. faces an additional charge of concealment of a homicidal death.

• An autopsy Thursday revealed AJ died of craniocerebral trauma as a result of multiple blunt force injuries.

• Authorities said AJ was forced into a cold shower and struck repeatedly. They believe AJ died three days before he was reported missing last Thursday.

• Cunningham was seen at the police station Wednesday morning after several days of not cooperating with authorities on the advice of her attorney. That's when the couple's story began to unravel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Forensic analysis and cellphone data were key to cracking the case.

• Police on Wednesday removed several items from the family's house, including a shovel, a mattress, paper bags and a plastic storage tub.

• On Tuesday, police released years of police reports describing the poor conditions inside the family house.

• Police reports detailed several calls in recent years to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

• DCFS had custody of AJ for the first 18 months of his life because he was born with opiates in his system. He was placed in foster care before being returned to Cunningham and Freund Sr. in June 2015. DCFS was asked to investigate the family last March but determined allegations of neglect to be unfounded, and was called again in December by police.

• Police documented problems with the couple's home on Dole Avenue, including an "overwhelming" stench of feces in the boys' bedroom. Again, DCFS determined the allegations of neglect to be unfounded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• AJ's younger brother was taken into DCFS custody after AJ went missing. He remains under DCFS protective custody after a shelter care hearing to determine whether he should be returned to his mother was postponed until Monday.

• Authorities conducted an extensive search of local parks and open spaces Tuesday and released a recording of the 911 call from Andrew Freund Sr. to report AJ missing.

• Freund told the police dispatcher he canvassed the neighborhood, a gas station nearby and a local park.

• For several days, the police investigation was focused on the family house, and this week the search for AJ was widened.

• Authorities early on said they didn't believe AJ had been abducted or had left his house on foot.

-- Madhu Krishnamurthy

0 Comments
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.