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LISTEN: Police release 911 call after dad reports 5-year-old son, A.J. Freund, missing

Illinois authorities released the 911 audio call reporting 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund missing. The young boy vanished last week after his parents claimed they couldn’t find him the following morning after putting him to bed.

The 911 call, obtained by Chicago Sun Times, indicates Andrew Freund Sr. made the call at around 9:04 a.m. on April 18. Freund Sr. told the 911 dispatcher that he couldn’t find his little boy and explained the last time he saw was the previous night in their home off of Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake.

Freund Sr. also told the dispatcher he had an early doctor’s appointment on April 19, and when he returned home between 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., his son was missing.  The man said he thoroughly checked the home and the surrounding areas and couldn’t find A.J.

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“I have no idea where he could be,” Freund said.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities said they don’t believe the child was abducted, as a canine unit couldn’t place the child’s scent past the family’s home off of Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake. The boy’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, is reportedly being uncooperative with police after her attorney advised her to remain silent.

“Mrs. Cunningham doesn’t know what happened to A.J. and had nothing to do with the disappearance of A.J.,” attorney George Kililis said on Friday, shortly before police raided the Cunningham family home. “Mrs. Cunningham is worried sick; she’s devastated.”

While JoAnn Cunningham stood sobbing beside her lawyer, Killis asked the public for privacy and “compassion” for his client. When a local reporter asked Cunningham to speak, Killis said the woman would not be answering questions and instead, he urged the community to help find the little boy.

“At some point, we got the impression that she may be considered a suspect,” Kililis said. “I don’t know whether she is or not…..Once I realized that, as her attorney, I advised Mrs. Cunningham to remain silent.”

In response to the attorney’s statement, Crystal Lake Police Deputy Chief Tom Kotlowski said that there are no suspects at this time.

“We do not have her listed as a suspect, we do not currently have any suspects in this case.”

The lawyer’s statement happened amid the release of child neglect and abuse reports by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The reports indicated that the agency has known about the family for years.

A.J. was born in 2013 with opioids in his system according to DCFS documents, which also indicated accusations of Cunningham neglecting the boy. The agency said they’ve been in contact on and off with the family since A.J.’s birth, until 2018.

Shortly after his birth, the agency took A.J. into protective custody. He didn’t return to his family until 2015. In March 2018, DCF followed up on complaints about the boy’s father neglecting him. The accusations were unfounded.

In December 2018, A.J. was removed from the home after reports of his mother neglecting and abusing him. The boy was returned to the home shortly after when the accusations again were unfounded.

“The department’s involvement with Andrew Freund began with his birth in 2013 and continued on and off through the end of 2018. The last contact between DCFS child protection staff and Andrew’s family was in December of 2018 while investigating allegations of abuse and neglect,” the agency stated.

Cunningham’s other defense attorney, Elizabeth Vonau, told Chicago Tribune that she’s questioning why DCFS decided to release the reports, given that it’s a “a violation of DCFS own policy.”

Meanwhile, authorities are asking residents around the community with security cameras to search for footage taken between 7 a.m. on April 15 through April 18 at around 9 a.m.. Footage and photos should be sent to jmattson@crystallake.org.

A.J is described as a white male who stands 3-feet-5-inches tall. He has blond hair and was last seen wearing a Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants.

Anyone with any information is urged to call the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620. Anonymous tips can be sent to the department by texting the word “CLPDTIP” with tip information to 847411 (tip411).

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[Feature Photo: A.J. Freund/Police Handout]