The parents of 5-year-old Andrew Freund are facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery, failure to report missing or child death and more, police announced.
JoAnn Cunningham, the boy’s mother, 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.
Andrew Drew Freund Sr., the boy’s father, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of concealment of a homicidal death, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.
Both parents remain held in police custody and will be transported to the McHenry County Jail where they will await a bond hearing.
Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black and FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet announced Wednesday during a press conference that the missing boy’s body had been found on private property near Gayle Drive and Dean Street in unincorporated Woodstock.
Cunningham and Freund Sr. told police where the boy’s body was located after police obtained new information through a forensic analysis of cell phone data, Black said.
Crystal Lake police officers, McHenry County sheriff’s deputies, FBI agents and other law enforcement converged on the Woodstock property early Wednesday morning and located the body buried in a shallow grave wrapped in plastic, Black said.
The cause of death is unknown at this time and will be determined by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office, police said.
“On behalf of the Crystal Lake Police Department, we would like to thank the FBI, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and the other local, state, and county law enforcement and fire department and emergency management entities. Their assistance was instrumental in bringing closure to this investigation,” Black said during the press conference.
“To AJ’s family, it is our hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice. We would also like to thank the community for their support and assistance during this difficult time. To AJ, we know you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer,” Black said.
Investigators removed several items, including a dirt covered shovel, a mattress, two brown bags and a bin from the family home in Crystal Lake Wednesday morning. Animal control also seized the family dog around the same time.
Andrew’s parents reported the boy missing last Thursday morning. Andrew Freund Sr. told dispatchers during a 911 call that he last saw his son when he put him to bed around 9:30 p.m. April 17 at the family home on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake.
The second day of the search, police said that they were confident Andrew had not been abducted and had not walked away on foot. They had focused their investigation on the family’s home and declared it a crime scene.
At least 15 police agencies along with the FBI were called in to help with the search and investigation. More than 373 acres were search by foot and more than 497 acres were covered by aerial search.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been involved with Andrew since he was born in 2013 with opiates in his system. DCFS ended contact with the family in December 2018.
After Andrew went missing, his younger brother had been taken into protective custody by DCFS.
On Tuesday, police released 63 pages of compiled police reports detailing their interactions with the family home and parents in the last five years. In those reports, police officers noted the dirty condition the family’s home was in, saying that the home had broken windows, no power, strong feces and urine odors, and other issues.
“The outcome of this case is a result of the extraordinary efforts of all of the Investigators directly involved in the case,” Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said as he concluded at the press conference Wednesday afternoon.
- Focus shifts to field in Woodstock for missing Crystal Lake boy as mother remains inside police station
- Prior police reports describe dog feces, urine, and dirty conditions at home of missing Crystal Lake boy
- Police release 911 call when dad reported 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy missing
- Police say mom of Andrew Freund continues to be uncooperative, dad interviewed by detectives
- Missing 5-year-old boy from Crystal Lake was not abducted, police say
May Lady Justice take it from here for these two…and may a review and hopeful changes to the “systems and people and laws” that ALLOWED this situation to turn into murder…my God, where was DCFS, the Police, Neighbors and the Law all being able to come together to help save a desperate situation and child? Nowhere—except to “take another report” and pass it on to others to ultimately be ignored. System and People are broken…Shame on Crystal Lake and the County and State. Expect another one, only in a different town where the same non action will happen. Everyones legally scared to do anything or claims of “no funding” to hide behind. Raise State Taxes but it all goes to Pension shortfalls, not increased protection of children and DCFS resoures.
Whomever was responsible at DCFS for the safety of those children should be prosecuted as well. To stop checking in on those children living in such vile conditions is just not acceptable. We as citizens depend on these agenciesies to protect children from hurt, harm and danger. But it seems that over the last two decades they’ve continuously dropped the ball. If thw agency can’t handle their job, give it to someone else that can. This tragedy could have been prevented on so many levels. Rest in Peace AJ. You deserved better…
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