Illinois boy found buried in shallow grave; parents charged

Published 7:55 am Thursday, April 25, 2019

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.  — Authorities on Wednesday dug up the body of a 5-year-old Illinois boy who was reported missing last week and charged his parents with murder and other counts.

The body, believed to be that of Andrew “AJ” Freund, was wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in a rural area of Woodstock, Crystal Lake police Chief James Black said at a news conference. Woodstock is about 50 miles northwest of Chicago and a few miles from the family’s home in Crystal Lake.

Black said investigators were led to the body after they interviewed the boy’s parents overnight and presented them with cellphone evidence.

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The parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, each face five counts of first-degree murder and other charges, including aggravated battery.

In a message intended for the slain boy, the chief said, “We know you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer.”

Black said his efforts are underway to confirm that the body is AJ’s and that his department won’t be releasing further details in an effort to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.