The parents of the 5-year-old Illinois boy whose body was found Wednesday have been charged in his murder.
JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. faced numerous charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and failure to report a missing child or child death, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said at a press conference.
“To AJ: We know you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy to know you no longer have to suffer,” Black said.
The body believed to be that of Andrew (AJ) Freund was found near Woodstock on a farmland early Wednesday morning, Black said. The child was buried in a shallow grave and wrapped in plastic.
Police had interviewed both of AJ’s parents the night before and the two provided them with information “that ultimately led to the recovery of the deceased subject.”
The boy’s cause of death is unknown and will be determined at a later date. His parents are in police custody and will be transported to the McHenry County Jail where they will await a bond hearing.
AJ was reported missing last week by his parents, who claimed they last saw him around his 9 p.m. bedtime. At the time, police said it did not appear that he had been kidnapped or that he had wandered away.
Police later called Cunningham “uncooperative.” They said Andrew Freund Sr. did speak with detectives.
Black said he hoped that AJ’s family would find solace in the fact that “AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice.”
Officers removed several items from the family’s home, including a shovel, mattress, paper bags and a plastic storage tub, earlier Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Police on Tuesday released five years worth of reports related to the home and those who lived there. The reports described the home as a site with filthy living conditions, physical confrontations and possible drug use.
The documents also shed light on allegations that AJ was neglected, however it was found that the claims were unsubstantiated.
The 911 call reporting AJ missing was released along with the documents.
“We have a missing child,” his dad told the dispatcher.