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Parents of Missing 5-Year-Old Boy AJ Freund Charged with Murder — Here’s What We Know


The search for missing 5-year-old Illinois boy Andrew “AJ” Freund Jr. came to a tragic end on Wednesday. Media reports said the boy had been found dead, and the Crystal Lake Police Department confirmed that soon after in a press conference.

Here’s what we know so far.

1. The Parents Have Been Charged

The victim’s parents JoAnn Cunningham, 36, and Andrew Freund Sr., 60, have been charged in AJ’s death, Chief Jim Black confirmed.

Black said that after authorities found the boy’s body investigators showed cell phone data to the victim’s parents. They reportedly gave information that led to what police to a shallow grave in a remote area. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Cunningham and Freund Sr. are in custody, Black said. Cunningham is charged in 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.

Freund Sr. is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of homicidal death, and one count of failure to report missing or child death.

2. AJ Went Missing on Thursday

Freund Sr. and Cunningham reported AJ missing Thursday. Cops in Crystal Lake released audio of the victim’s father contacting 911:

The elder Freund said he last saw his son the night before. He said he canvased the neighborhood looking for AJ.

“I have no idea where he would be,” he said.

3. Cunningham Is Not Talking to the Police

Cunningham and her lawyer were seen at the Crystal Lake police station Wednesday morning, but the attorney later left by himself, according to the Chicago Tribune. A lawyer previously told the outlet that she cooperated with police and submitted to a body search, but her attorneys said later that they recommended she not talk to police because it started to look like she was a suspect. Cops have described her as “uncooperative,” though they said Freund Sr. spoke with detectives.

4. A History of Bad Living Conditions

Freund Jr.’s family was on the radar of Illinois Department of Children and Family services between 2013 and 2018, according to the Tribune. He had been born with opiates in his system. According to a 2018 police report, their residence was in bad shape–cops noted broken windows, as well as dog feces and urine.

[Images via Crystal Lake Police Department]

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