JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr.

McHenry County Sheriff's Office

AJ Freund’s Parents Plead Not Guilty, Following Grand Jury Indictment

May 10, 2019 - 12:24 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The parents charged with the death and disappearance of their 5-year-old son Andrew "AJ" Freund pleaded not guilty Friday, following a grand jury indictment on Thursday. 

JoAnn Cunningham, 36, and Andrew Freund Sr., 60 were each indicted on multiple counts, including murder, aggravated battery, and concealing a homicide, by a grand jury on Thursday, McHenry County court records show. The indictments also include charges related to two other alleged incidents.

Freund Sr. was also indicted on an additional count of making a false complaint to 911.

JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr.
Crystal Lake police

The two appeared in court on Friday morning where they both pled not guilty and requested jury trials. Attorneys for Freund Sr. asked for a psychological evaluation due to an opioid addiction and the judge granted the motion. 

Cunningham and Freund Sr. were arrested and initially charged on Apr. 24, the same day police found AJ's body. They each face multiple charges of murder, aggravated battery, and concealment of a homicide, among other crimes. The two remain in custody at the McHenry County jail on $5 million bail.

Freund Sr. called police on April 18 to report AJ missing, telling a dispatcher that he and Cunningham last saw AJ around 9 p.m. April 17, when they put him to bed. Three days into the search, police began focusing their search on the family’s Crystal Lake home, saying they do not believe the child was abducted or that he left the house on foot. Police also said AJ's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, was not cooperating in the investigation.

Andrew “AJ” Freund House
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Police said both parents were questioned the following Tuesday and overnight into the morning of April 24, after information was obtained through a forensic analysis of cell phone data.

"Once presented with the evidence obtained by investigators, both JoAnn and Andrew Senior, provided information that ultimately lead to what we believe is the recovery of deceased subject, AJ," said Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black.

Andrew "AJ" Freund /Crystal Lake Police

On April 25, the McHenry County Coroner's office identified the body found as AJ's and said the cause of death was "craniocerebral trauma as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries."

That same day, a judge set bail at $5 million each for Cunningham and Freund Sr. as the two appeared in court for separate bond hearings. According to a criminal complaint, AJ Freund died three days before his parents reported him missing. The Crystal Lake boy was reported missing on April 18, but it appears he died on April 15.

According to court documents, both JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. forced AJ into a cold shower "for an extended period of time", and the 5-year-old was repeatedly struck, leading to his death. Freund Sr. later found AJ dead in his bed at their home in Crystal Lake, and buried him in a shallow grave. AJ’s parents falsely reported him missing three days later. Police found AJ's body nearly a week later wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave in Woodstock on April 24.