Warrant: AJ's father says his mother killed the boy

  • In background, mourners stop on Dole Avenue as a memorial of balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, toys and candles grows April 26 on the lawn of the home where 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund was killed.

      In background, mourners stop on Dole Avenue as a memorial of balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, toys and candles grows April 26 on the lawn of the home where 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund was killed. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Andrew "AJ" Freund

    Andrew "AJ" Freund

 
 

AJ Freund's father led authorities to his grave.

That's according to a search warrant for the land where AJ was found last week.

In the warrant, obtained by the Daily Herald, authorities said Andrew Freund Sr. spent nearly a week lying and misdirecting Crystal Lake and federal authorities about the whereabouts of his oldest son, AJ.

When confronted with a video that had been deleted from AJ's mother's phone that police obtained after contacting Apple, the 60-year-old father broke.

Freund Sr. told investigators the boy's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, killed the boy April 15 while disciplining him for lying about soiled underwear, the warrant says. AJ's body was recovered more than a week later in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. have been charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund.
JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. have been charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund. -
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The recovered video apparently shows the aftermath of Cunningham's discipline of AJ over wetting his bed in March, according to the warrant.

"AJ is seen laying on a bare mattress in a crib in a room I recognized to be his bedroom from 94 Dole Ave.," police investigators wrote in the warrant. "In the video, a female with a voice consistent with JoAnn's is berating AJ for urinating on his bed. AJ is seen to be naked except for some small bandages around both wrists and circling his hips."

The video appears to show the outcome of the beating AJ suffered that day at the hands of his mother, according to the warrant.

"AJ is seen to be holding an ice pack to his face and when he removes it, he is seen to have deep red bruising around his eyes and yellowish-greenish bruising around his neck and upper chest," the investigator reports in the warrant. "It did not appear from the video that AJ received professional medical attention."

This is one of the images obtained by ABC 7 from McHenry County show the condition of the house in which 5-year-old "AJ" Freund lived and was ultimately killed, according to Crystal Lake police.
This is one of the images obtained by ABC 7 from McHenry County show the condition of the house in which 5-year-old "AJ" Freund lived and was ultimately killed, according to Crystal Lake police. - Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

Investigators also interviewed AJ's younger brother, who told police that he was instructed by his parents not to talk about AJ. The 4-year-old, who has been put into foster care with a relative, told police that his mom said AJ was hurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He was told by his mom that AJ had 'fell down the stairs and had lots of owies,'" police noted in the warrant.

AJ was reported missing April 18, more than three days after police believe he was killed. A search of the house on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake appeared to show no signs the boy had left the house. Police reported that the home was in "hoarder-like condition."

Police asked to search Freund Sr.'s phone and discovered that on the day they believe AJ was killed, someone searched "child CPR." Freund Sr. first told investigators that Cunningham had used his phone to do that search because she is expecting a child. Police noted Freund Sr. is not the father of that unborn child.

This is one of the images obtained by ABC 7 from McHenry County show the condition of the house in which 5-year-old "AJ" Freund lived and was ultimately killed, according to Crystal Lake police.
This is one of the images obtained by ABC 7 from McHenry County show the condition of the house in which 5-year-old "AJ" Freund lived and was ultimately killed, according to Crystal Lake police. - Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

There was also a picture on Freund Sr.'s phone with a shopping list from April 17 that included "duct tape, plastic gloves, air freshener and bleach." Four empty bleach bottles and a bag of white clothes smelling of bleach were recovered from the family's house, according to the warrant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

When confronted with all the evidence, Freund Sr. finally confessed, according to the report.

The father put his son's dead body into a plastic container and stored it in the basement for a day before taking it to the field near Woodstock where he buried the boy's body wrapped in plastic, covered the grave with straw "and left," according to the warrant.

Both parents have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the boy's death.

A public visitation for the boy is slated for Friday afternoon at Davenport Funeral Home in Crystal Lake.

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