Parents charged with murder of Crystal Lake 5-year-old AJ Freund; Listen to police press conference


This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

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The parents of Crystal Lake 5-year-old AJ Freund, who was reported missing last week, have been charged with his murder after the boy’s body was discovered in a rural area of Woodstock. Jim Black, Chief of Police Crystal Lake, and FBI Special Agent Jeff Sallet announced the charges in a press conference today.

The Crystal Lake Police Department released the following statement:

It is with a heavy heart that the Crystal Lake Police Department reports they have located what they believe to be the body of Andrew “AJ” Freund early this morning. During the overnight hours, Investigators with the Crystal Lake Police Department and the FBI interviewed both Joann Cunningham and Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr. after information was obtained through a forensic analysis of cell phone data.

Once presented with evidence obtained by investigators, both Joann and Andrew Sr. provided information that ultimately led to the recovery of the deceased subject.  Investigators located what they believe to be AJ’s body buried in a shallow grave in a remote area in Woodstock, Il.  The McHenry County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene to assist with the recovery and identification of the body.

The cause of death is unknown at this time and will be determined by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Based on current information and evidence, both JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund are being charged with the death and disappearance of AJ.

Joann Cunningham has been charged with:

  • (5) Counts of First Degree Murder
  • (4) Counts Aggravated Battery
  • (2) Counts of Aggravated Domestic Battery
  • (1) Count of Failure to Report a Missing or Child Death

Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr. has been charged with:

  • (5) Counts of First Degree Murder
  • (2) Counts of Aggravated Battery
  • (1) Count of Aggravated Domestic Battery
  • (2) Counts of Concealment of Homicidal Death
  • (1) Count of Failure to Report Missing or Child Death

Both Joann and Drew are currently in police custody and will eventually be transported to McHenry County Jail where they will await a bond hearing.

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

To AJ’s family, it is our hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice. We 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 you no longer have to suffer.

The outcome of this case is a result of the extraordinary efforts of all of the Investigators directly involved in the case.  Because the charges resulting from this investigation are based largely on evidence recovered, we will not be providing any further details in an effort to protect the integrity of the criminal prosecution.

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