Just months after telling a doctor in Illinois about all the horrible things his mother was doing to him, Andrew AJ Freund died. Now his parents have been charged with his murder. A hotline tip came from an anonymous source back in December and police went to Andrew’s residences to check on him. They found a massive bruise on the five-year-old’s hip, and when asked about it, the boy told investigators that it was from the family dog.
However, the doctor was not so sure. While in the emergency room, the doctor tried to get more information from AJ to learn whether it really was the dog that did it to him or something else, something more malevolent. When the doctor asked about, AJ offered a different reason – a startling and shocking reason.
“Maybe someone hit me with a belt,” he told the doctor. “Maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”
The doctor submitted this report to the Department of Children and Family Services. Although the boy had varying reasons for the bruise, the doctor was unable to determine the exact cause of the injury. In the report, the doctor wrote that the bruise could have resulted from “a dog, belt or football.” With a lack of evidence to do anything, the case was closed a month later.
Four months after AJ told the doctor the truth, the boy was murdered. His body was found wrapped in plastic buried in a shallow grave. His parents, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, and his mother, 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham have since been charged with the murder of their five-year-old son.
A pathologist found that the boy had died from head trauma that resulted from a blunt force injury.
DCFS had a large file on Andrew and his family. They have since released the plethora of their records, which shows their extensive interaction with Cunningham and Freund Sr. Throughout the boy’s short life, DCFS agents made 17 unannounced visits to check on the boy between June 2015 and March 2016. At the time, the worker found no evidence of abuse and did not notice anything untoward.
However, DCFS received another hotline call last week when an anonymous source claimed that AJ was being neglected. That call came the same day when AJ’s parents reported the boy missing. When police investigated, they squeezed information from the parents who eventually revealed the boy’s shallow grave in Woodstock, which was about 10 miles from the family’s home in Crystal Lake.
DCFS was called on Cunningham in 2012 because she was allegedly abusing prescription drugs and neglecting her foster child. These instances came before AJ was even born. He was born into a troubled home and one that had been subject to “environmental neglect and injurious environment” for Cunningham’s eldest son.
When AJ was born, Cunningham and AJ tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. He was removed from her care for eight months before he was reunited with his birth parents.
What kind of punishment do you think the parents of this murdered boy should face?
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.