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Police: Remains of missing 5-year-old Illinois boy found, parents charged with murder

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April 25 (UPI) — The body of a 5-year-old Illinois boy reported missing last week was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave, police said.

Crystal Lake Police Department Chief James Black said in a news conference Wednesday that investigators had discovered remains believed to be the body of Andrew “AJ” Freund that morning, almost a week after the boy was reported missing.

His parents, Joann Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr., were arrested and charged with murder, he said.

“To AJ’s family: it is my hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice,” Black said.

The boy was reported missing last Thursday by his father and a search followed consisting of 15 police agencies, drones and canine units.

Freund had told the 911 dispatch that he had last seen his son at 9:30 p.m., April 17.

On Tuesday, Crystal Lake police released 63 pages of police reports on interactions with AJ’s parents, detailing living conditions unacceptable for children.

The report details “dog feces and urine were scattered about the residence” and that one of two children at the residence had a large bruise that a healthcare worker could not determine if it was the product of abuse.

Police discovered the body after investigators and the FBI interviewed Cunningham and Freund Tuesday night with new information into the case obtained through a forensic analysis of cell phone data.

“Once presented with the evidence obtained by investigators, both Joann and Andrew Sr. provided information that ultimately led to the recovery — what we believe is the recovery — of the deceased subject AJ,” Black said.

The body was discovered some 10 miles from their Crystal Lake home in a remote area of Woodstock, Ill.

Both parents face five counts of first-degree murder and one count of failure to report a missing or child death, while Cunningham faces four counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated domestic battery.

Freund was also been charged with two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery and two counts of concealment of homicidal death.

The cause of death was not yet known and the coroner’s office was on the scene with FBI evidence recovery office. Black said the investigation was ongoing.





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