Bail set at $5M for parents charged in Crystal Lake boy's death

Clay Curtis
April 27, 2019

A coroner's office in northern IL has confirmed a body found in a shallow grave is a 5-year-old boy who went missing from his suburban Chicago home a week ago.

His cause of death hasn't been released pending an autopsy.

He says AJ's parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, face murder and other charges in the boy's death.

Cunningham, 35, was 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.

Freund Sr. and Cunnigham met back when he represented her in 2012 during the dissolution of her previous marriage.

Should either parent post bond, they would be required to wear electronic home monitoring devices, and barred from having contact with one another or anyone younger than 17.

A judge sets the bond for the parents accused of killing Andrew "AJ" Freund at $5M bond in court Thursday morning.

Not long after his body was found, it was announced that Cunningham and Freund were being charged with the boy's murder. Their next court appearance is set for Monday. They were expected to appear for a bond hearing in the coming days.

Cunningham is also seven months pregnant, according to CNN affiliate WBBM. After he was born, he was taken away from his family by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services because he was born with opiates in his system, the department said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. He has one younger brother, whom DCFS removed from the home after AJ was reported missing.

"Protecting vulnerable children who come to our attention is at the core of our mission at DCFS", Smith said.

This is not the first time the family has been involved with the police.

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The allegations were determined to be unfounded in both cases, Strokosch said. He was returned to his mother two years later.

Questions remain about the timeline leading up to AJ's death.

Neither the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office nor the Crystal Lake Police Department would comment further on the lapse of time.

Freund claimed to have meticulously searched the home for the boy.

Freund and Cunningham are disputing DCFS' decision to remove Cunningham's younger son from the Dole Avenue, Crystal Lake home where AJ was reported missing.

He was reportedly wearing a blue Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants the last time Freund and Cunningham saw him alive.

AJ's parents ultimately provided information that led investigators to his body, Crystal Lake Police Chief Jim Black said at a news conference on Wednesday. Details about the parents' cellphone activity were not immediately available.

A 5-year-old IL boy whose body was found Wednesday wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave died from repeated blows to the head three days before his father reported him missing, according to authorities.

Community members held out hope he might be found alive, but are now planning to honor AJ's memory.

In a 911 call released by police earlier this week, Freund can be heard telling a dispatcher that he's searched the home and neighborhood for Andrew.

"I have kids [AJ's] age and I couldn't imagine it", Woodstock mother, Rose Taylor said on Wednesday.

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