These monsters really had no shame or love for this boy.
A video of a badly beaten 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy on his mother’s cellphone helped crack the investigation into his killing, according to court documents.
The video on JoAnn Cunningham’s phone, taken more than a month before Andrew “AJ” Freund’s death, showed the boy had severe bruising on his face and body, and was berated for urinating in his bed, the documents alleged. And his mother allegedly searched online for “child cpr” the night of AJ’s death, the documents indicated.
AJ’s father, Andrew “Drew” Freund, said the boy was forced to take a long, cold shower and was put to bed “cold, wet, and naked” before being found dead, the documents read.
Those tragic details came out in a sworn statement by McHenry County sheriff’s Detective Edwin Maldonado in a request for a search warrant April 24, which was posted in the court file this week.
The parents were charged with AJ’s killing, as well as aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery, failure to report a missing child, and in Freund’s case, concealment of a homicide. Cunningham was also charged with an earlier aggravated battery from on or about March 4 relating to the video.
The video on Cunningham’s phone, dated March 4, showed AJ lying on a bare mattress in his bedroom, with a voice that sounds like Cunningham’s “berating AJ for urinating on his bed,” according to the affidavit.
“AJ is seen to (be) naked except for some small bandages around both wrists and circling his hips,” the affidavit stated. “AJ is seen to be holding an ice pack to his face and when he removes it he is seen to have deep red bruising around his eyes, and yellowish-green bruising around his neck and upper chest. It did not appear from the video that AJ received professional medical attention.”
When FBI and Crystal Lake police investigators confronted the father with the video at 2:40 a.m. April 24, Freund blamed AJ’s injuries in the video on Cunningham, and then gave an account of what happened the night AJ died, the documents alleged.
“Drew also said that he believed AJ died on Monday morning after spending a prolonged time in a cold shower,” the affidavit stated. “Drew explained he wanted JoAnn to stop with the hard physical beatings and do some less violent form of punishment. Drew said cold showers was decided (as the alternative). Drew said on or about … 4/15/19, AJ had lied about soiled underwear and he was subjected to a cold shower. Drew said he helped AJ out of the shower after he’d been there approximately 20 minutes, and put AJ to bed ‘cold, wet, and naked.’
“Drew said JoAnn got up and checked on AJ and that was when she got Drew and used Drew’s phone to search for child cpr. Drew advised at some point that he believed AJ had died. Drew said the next day he took AJ’s body to the basement and stored him in a tote. He said on the night of 4/17/19 he placed Andrew inside of several trash bags, placed the body in the trunk of his car, and drove him to an area in Woodstock. Drew said he dug a shallow grave for AJ, placed him in it, covered it with straw, and left.”
Freund then took police to the grave on a vacant property near Woodstock, where they found AJ’s body, the documents alleged.
An autopsy determined that AJ died from blunt force trauma to his head.
The house was in “hoarder” condition, with garbage bags stacked inside and outside. Freund’s cellphone contained a photo of a handwritten shopping list containing duct tape, plastic gloves, air freshener and bleach, and at least some of those items were found at the house.