Illinois Boy, 5, Was Allegedly Forced Into Cold Shower and Then Beaten by Parents Before Death

Andrew "A.J." Freund allegedly suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of his parents before his body was found in a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic

AJ Freund
Photo: Family Photo

The 5-year-old boy whose parents are accused of killing him and burying his plastic-wrapped body in a shallow grave endured beatings and other heinous forms of abuse during his short life, prosecutors allege.

On April 15, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, and JoAnn Cunningham, 35, allegedly forced their son, Andrew “A.J.” Freund, “to remain in a cold shower for an extended period of time and/or struck [him] on or about his body, knowing such acts would cause the death of [him],” prosecutors said in a criminal complaint filed Thursday in McHenry County Circuit Court, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, CNN and other outlets report.

On Wednesday, the Crystal Lake Police Department and the FBI announced that they had found the remains of the child after he had been reported missing by his father the previous Thursday.

Joann Cunningham, Drew Freund
JoAnn Cunningham, 35, and Andrew Freund, Sr., 60. Crystal Lake Police Department (2)

Police arrested Cunningham and Freund on Wednesday after showing them a “forensic analysis of cell phone data,” which allegedly led the pair to divulge “information that ultimately led to the recovery” of A.J.’s body, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said at a press conference Wednesday.

Both face a slew of charges including first-degree murder, aggravated battery and failure to report the death of a child, online court records show.

They are being held on a $5 million bond and will be arraigned Monday.

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Their attorneys did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“A.J. is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice,” Black said at the press conference.

JoAnne Cunningham
JoAnne Cunningham of Crystal Lake, Illinois. Crystal Lake Police Department

The child’s alleged mistreatment began at prior to birth: After he was born, he was taken away from his family by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services because he was born with opiates in his system, the department said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

The boy was returned to his family when he was 18 months old.

But DCFS visited the family’s home 17 times over the years, local station ABC 7, the Sun-Times, the Tribune, and other outlets report.

Andrew Freund
Andrew Freund, Sr., of Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Officials had found the home severely dilapidated, with broken windows and, at times, no electricity for weeks, the Sun-Times reports.

The room where A.J. and his sibling slept smelled like feces and urine, the Sun-Times reports.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine the child’s cause of death.

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