AJ Freund: 5-year-old boy found beaten to death, father takes plea deal for 30 years in prison

AJ’s mother is already serving a 35 year sentence after pleading guilty to murder.

Andrew Freund Sr on Friday pleaded guilty for his role in the death of his son, AJ Freund, who was found dead in a shallow grave on April 24, 2019, Law & Crime reports.

Freund, 60, agreed to sentences totaling 30 years in prison: 14 years for involuntary manslaughter, 11 years for aggravated battery, and 5 years for concealment of a homicidal death, to be served concurrently.

The 5-year-old boy’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, pleaded guilty to murder in December 2019 and was sentenced last month to a 35 year prison sentence, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

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Cunningham and Freund Sr were accused of killing the boy on April 15, 2019, forcing him to remain in a cold shower “for an extended period of time” and beating him, then putting him to bed and locking him in his room, where he died. Freund Sr allegedly buried him in a shallow grave the next day.

Freund Sr reported AJ missing on April 18, launching the search that ended with the discovery of the boy’s body, wrapped in plastic on rural land in Woodstock, Illinois.

Andrew Freund Sr appears for a hearing on September 18, 2020. (Matthew Apgar/Northwest Herald via AP, Pool)

McHenry County Interim Coroner David Devane, who released the boy’s official cause of death results, noted that A.J. had “craniocerebral trauma as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries.” According to Mayo Clinic, craniocerebral trauma means a traumatic brain injury, typically caused by violent blows to the head.

A public outcry against the Department of Family and Children’s Services ensued after the boy’s death, prompting an internal investigation. The agency replaced its director and suspended two workers during the investigation. Court documents stated that DCFS had a number of visits with AJ and his parents yet failed to remove the boy from an abusive situation. Last week, two former employees of the state agency were arrested and charged with reckless conduct and endangering the life of a child.

Andrew Polovin, 48, was assigned to AJ’s case and was in contact with him for several months before his death, as CrimeOnline reported. Carlos Acosta, 54, was Polovin’s supervisor.

“From the Inspector General’s report, it is indicated that Mr. Polovin’s lack of supervisory oversight was willful and [wanton], given the nature of the injury, the explanations that had been given and rejected by police and unsupported by medical examination … ” McHenry County State’s Attorney investigator Robert Diviacchi said.

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[Feature Photo: AJ Freund/Handout]