AJ Freund died from blows to the head, coroner says
WOODSTOCK, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A Crystal Lake mother and father were ordered held on $5 million bail each on Thursday after they were charged with killing their 5-year-old son.
JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. appeared in court for a bail hearing at 8 a.m., according to the McHenry County sheriff’s office. They are each charged with five counts of first-degree murder for the death of Andrew “AJ” Freund.
An autopsy has revealed that Andrew died of craniocerebral trauma -- a traumatic brain injury -- as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries to the head.
Criminal complaints filed Thursday in McHenry County Circuit Court state that on April 15, Freund Sr. and Cunningham forced their son “to remain in a cold shower for an extended period of time and/or struck A.F. on or about his body, knowing such acts would cause the death of A.F.”
The complaint also states that Freund Sr. buried the boy’s body that same day.
Cunningham and Freund Sr. reported their son missing on the morning of April 18, claiming they’d last seen him while putting him to bed the night before, police said.
Local law enforcement agencies and the FBI spent the next week searching the area for Andrew until Freund provided information early Wednesday that led them to the boy’s body, which was wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave in nearby Woodstock, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said.
Cunningham, 36, was also charged with four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing child or child death.
Freund Sr., 60, was charged with two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of a homicidal death and one count of failure to report a missing child or child death.
Records show the family has a lengthy history with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after AJ was born with opiates in his system in 2013, but the boy was eventually returned and allowed to remain with the family despite allegations of neglect.
The family home on Dole Avenue was in poor condition, and the family lived without power at times. Police reports document it was full of dog feces, urine and trash and had many broken or open windows, even in the winter.
Cunningham and Freund Sr. are both expected to appear in court again April 29.