Andrew Freund Sr., 60-years-old, and JoAnn Cunningham, 36-years-old, have been charged with various murder-related crimes after the body of their five-year-old son Andrew Freund Jr. was found in a shallow grave at the Hennen Conservation Area in Woodstock, Illinois.
The body of Andrew “AJ” Freund was found about 10 miles from his home in Crystal Lake on Wednesday, April 24, after he had originally been reported missing on Thursday, April 18.
15 separate police agencies were involved in the search, which covered almost 1000 acres.
Illinois Department of Child Protective Services records indicate that officials were sent to check on AJ’s welfare 17 separate times since he was born back in 2013.
Following her arrest, the 36-year-old Cunningham was charged with 5 counts of first-degree murder, 2 counts of aggravated domestic battery, 4 counts of aggravated battery and 1 count of failure to report a missing or child death.
Similarly, Freund Sr. was charged with 5 counts of aggravated domestic battery, 2 counts of concealment of a homicidal death, 5 counts of first-degree murder, 2 counts of aggravated battery, and 1 count of failure to report a missing child or child death.
In a statement, the Illinois Department of Child Services called the death of the five-year-old boy “heartbreaking.”
“After a nearly week-long search for missing Andrew “A.J.” Freund, law enforcement officials today confirmed his death. This news is heartbreaking,” the statement began.
“Protecting vulnerable children who come to our attention is at the core of our mission at DCFS. All of us feel this loss. Our priority is the care and safety of Andrew’s younger sibling. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation,” the statement continued.
At the time of this writing, AJ’s official cause of death has not been determined.
Speaking to reporters, Crystal Lake Police Department Chief James Black said he hopes AJ is “at peace in heaven’s playground.”
“To AJ’s family, it is my hope that you may have some solace knowing that AJ is no longer suffering, and his killers have been brought to justice,” Chief Black said in a statement.
“To AJ, we know you’re at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer,” Chief Black said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family, and various loved ones of AJ Freund during this extremely difficult time.
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