Body Of Crystal Lake Boy Reported Missing Last Week Found Near Woodstock

Andrew 'AJ' Freund's body was found after a parent confessed.

Andy Dahn
April 24, 2019 - 1:03 pm

Andrew "AJ" Freund /Crystal Lake Police

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CRYSTAL LAKE (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The body of who police believe is a 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy was found Wednesday, nearly a week after his father reported him missing.

At a Wednesday press conference, Crystal Lake Police said during the overnight hours, investigators with the Crystal Lake Police Department and the FBI interviewed both the mother, JoAnn Cunningham, and the father, Andrew Freund, Sr., 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.

"Investigators located what they believe is AJ's body buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic in a rogue area of Woodstock, Illinois. The McHenry County Coroner's Office is on scene with the FBI Evidence Recovery Unit right now as we speak," Chief Black said.

Police said the cause of death is currently unknown and will be determined at a later date by the McHenry County Coroner's Office. 

 

JoAnn Cunningham
Crystal Lake police

Chief Black said, based on the current information and evidence, both JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund, Sr. are being charged with the death and disappearance of AJ. Both are in police custody.

JoAnn Cunningham 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 Freund Sr.
Crystal Lake Police

Andrew Freund, Sr. has been 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 a missing or child death.

"On behalf of the Crystal Lake Police Department, I would like to thank the FBI, the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office and other local, state, and county law enforcement and fire department and emergency management entities. Their assistance was instrumental in bringing closure to this investigation," Chief Black said. 

"To AJ's family, it is my hope that you have some solace in knowing AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice. I 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 that you no longer have to suffer," Chief Black continued.

FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet also offered his condolences to AJ’s family and the Crystal Lake community.

"This is not the outcome that we want to talk about when we come before you, but it is the unfortunate result in this investigation,” he said. “...Listening to the emotion and the commitment that our folks as a team have exhibited over the last six days to bring justice really, really brings a lot of emotion to me and those emotions are mixed. One is the emotion of pride, to be apart of something that is positive, which is the outcome of getting justice. Part two is the sadness that we have a dead 5-year-old child, who has now been recovered based on the efforts of some incredible work."

Listen to the full press conference below:

Andrew "AJ" Fruend was last seen around 9 p.m. last Wednesday, April 17, in the first block of Dole Avenue. His parents reported him missing on Thursday morning. On Tuesday, police released the 911 call.

Andrew Freund
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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.

On Wednesday morning, Cunningham’s attorney, George Kililis, was seen leaving the Crystal Lake Police Department, but declined to answer questions. 

Meanwhile, police began searching a wooded area near Gayle Drive and Dean Street in Woodstock on Wednesday morning, about 7 1/2 miles west of the family’s home. Sources confirmed that is where the body was found Wednesday morning.

Investigators also were back at the family’s home Wednesday morning. They were seen removing several large bags, a large plastic bin, a shovel, and a child's mattress and loading them into an evidence team van.

A McHenry County Animal Control team also removed a dog from the family’s home Wednesday morning.

Andrew “AJ” Freund House
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Both parents appeared Tuesday in McHenry County Circuit Court for a hearing as they seek to regain custody of their other son, who was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Thursday after AJ was reported missing. The hearing was continued, with the next hearing set for Monday at 9 a.m. CT.

DCFS has had repeated contact with Andrew’s family since he was born with opiates in his system in 2013.

Read below the past 5 years’ worth of police calls for service at the Freund residence:

This is a developing story. Check back with updates.