Demolition set for AJ Freund's home in Crystal Lake

  • Stuffed animals remain on the front porch of this house at 94 Dole Ave. in Crystal Lake, where authorities allege 5-year-old AJ Freund was killed by his parents last April.

      Stuffed animals remain on the front porch of this house at 94 Dole Ave. in Crystal Lake, where authorities allege 5-year-old AJ Freund was killed by his parents last April. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Demolition of the Crystal Lake house where authorities say AJ Freund was killed by his parents last April is scheduled to begin Friday.

      Demolition of the Crystal Lake house where authorities say AJ Freund was killed by his parents last April is scheduled to begin Friday. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • AJ Freund

    AJ Freund

 
 
Updated 2/26/2020 8:02 PM

The Crystal Lake house where authorities say 5-year-old AJ Freund was killed by his parents last spring is scheduled to be torn down starting Friday.

Demolition of the cottage-style house at 94 Dole Ave. could take two days, according to David Pardys, an attorney who represents the city in a lawsuit initiated last July.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"They had to get utility cutoffs and other clearance," Pardys said Wednesday after the brief hearing before McHenry County Judge Kevin Costello.

Green Demolition Contractors Inc. of Chicago was expected to begin its work Friday morning pending ground conditions.

The city cited 41 code violations on the property and declared the house dangerous in its suit against AJ's parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, and others with ties to the property.

In late November, Costello found Freund Sr. and the other defendants in default, clearing the way for demolition.

The house has been vacant since April 24, when Freund Sr. and Cunningham were arrested in their son's beating death.

AJ had been reported missing six days earlier, triggering an extensive search. Freund Sr., 61, and Cunningham, 36, were charged with first-degree murder and other crimes after the boy's body was recovered from a shallow grave near Woodstock.

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Freund Sr. is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a status hearing. In December, Cunningham changed her plea to guilty and awaits sentencing. They remain jailed on $5 million bond each.

Crystal Lake received six demolition bids ranging from $18,700 to $45,826. In the interim, Green Demolition offered to donate its services.

The company has shied away from publicity, but one official said the owner has five children and felt it was the right thing to do.

The city's suit hasn't been the only legal activity involving the property.

Property investor William Progar acquired the note and mortgage on the house May 20 from Home Sites LLC.

Later, Freund and Cunningham were found in default and given until Nov. 20 to pay the outstanding mortgage, penalties and interest to forestall a foreclosure sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That didn't happen, and the sale was held. Since no bidders attended, Progar, pending court approval, was set to become the new owner.

On Jan. 10, Progar released his interest in the property, meaning the house and any outstanding bills are the responsibility of Freund Sr. and Cunningham as owners.

Progar, through his attorney, has declined to comment on the demolition suit, plans for the property or the reason he released his interest in the property.

The county is owed $26,242 in property taxes for 2016, 2017 and 2018. If that isn't paid by April 30, the Peoria company that bought the property at a tax sale can apply for a deed.

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