Grim details emerged during a Thursday morning hearing in the case of 5-year-old Illinois boy, A.J. Freund. The child’s parents faced a judge on murder and other charges, while their bail was set at $5 million each.
As Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham stood in orange jumpsuits during a hearing at the McHenry County Jail, a prosecutor told Judge Mark Gerhardt that the pair murdered their own son by forcing him to stay in a cold shower for “an extended period of time” and beating him to death.
The prosecutor also alleged that the boy was killed on April 15 and Freund Sr. buried him the same day, then waited three days before calling 911 to report A.J. missing.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham and Freund Sr. appeared separately in front of the judge to hear their charges. A clearly pregnant Cunningham reportedly wiped away tears and shook her head back and forth when the judge read the charges against her. When Freund Sr. appearead, he showed no emotion while either gripping the podium or clasping his hands behind his back, the outlet reported.
“These are serious allegations,” Gerhardt said.
Cunningham has been charged with five counts of 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. has been charged with five counts of murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of homicidal death and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.
The discovery came exactly one week after Freund Sr. reported his son missing. The man called 911 and told the dispatcher that he couldn’t find A.J., and explained the last time he saw him 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 the morning of April 18, but 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.
“I have no idea where he could be,” Freund said.
Authorities said from the beginning of the investigation that they didn’t believe the child was abducted, as a canine unit couldn’t place the child’s scent past the family’s home.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: A.J. Freund/Handout]