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Crime News Breaking News

Police Noted ‘Overwhelming’ Smell Of Feces When They Were Previously Called To Home Of Missing 5-Year-Old

Authorities also released the 911 call in which Andrew "AJ" Freund was reported missing by his father.

By Jill Sederstrom
A.J. Freund

Crystal Lake Police were called to the home of a missing Illinois boy 17 times in the last five years—once noting the smell of feces in the boys’ bedroom was “overwhelming,” according to new records released by police.

The Crystal Lake Police released more than 60 pages of police reports written by officers on visits to the home and the 911 call made by Andrew “AJ” Freund’s father shortly after he said he discovered the 5-year-old was missing.

In the taped call, Andrew Freund Sr. can be heard calmly telling the dispatcher Thursday morning, “We have a missing child,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Freund goes on to tell the dispatcher he came home from a doctor’s appointment that morning and went up to his son’s room between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. “to say good morning” and realized the boy wasn’t there.

“We went through the house completely,” he said, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. “Closets, the basement, the garage, everywhere.”

Freund said the family had also searched the neighborhood, local park and a gas station where he likes to buy the boy treats.

Officers arrived at the home less than five minutes later and the search for the missing 5-year-old began.

Police announced Wednesday they plan to hold a press conference about the case that same day.

On Monday, police said they were focusing their investigative efforts on the boy’s home.

“This continues to be an active and ongoing investigation,” Crystal Lake Police said in a statement. “In reviewing all information, there is no indication currently that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place at this time.”

AJ’s parents told investigators the last time they saw the boy was Wednesday night around 9:30 p.m. when he was going to bed. Since AJ was discovered missing, investigators have scoured the area searching local parks and bodies of water in the area for any sign of the boy.

Investigators previously said the boy's mother, JoAnn Cunningham had been "uncooperative" in the investigation, but local station WSL-TV reported she had been seen in the police station for several hours this week. Her attorney had no comment as he was seen leaving the building

The new documents released show that police had been to the young boy’s home multiple times over the last five years.

In December officers came to the home after Cunningham called police from a fast-food restaurant to report her phone had been stolen. When officers went to her home and were invited inside they found the house scattered in dog feces and smelling of urine.

One officer found the home to “not be up to an acceptable standard of living with two young children living at the residence.”

The officers reported the ceiling was peeling due to water damage, the floor boards were breaking apart and several of the windows were open or broken.

“Upstairs in the room where the boys slept, the window was open and the smell of feces was overwhelming,” one officer wrote in a report.

The officer also noticed a large bruise on the hip of one of the boys and reported it to child services, however Cunningham and the child said the injury came from the family’s dog.

Officers had also been called to the home months earlier after records show someone called police to request a welfare check after the family had been living without power for weeks.

Cunningham reportedly did not allow the officer to come into the house but did say the power had been out for “awhile” and that the family was occasionally staying at other locations, including a hotel.

Officers who responded to the call described the boys as seeming “healthy and happy.”

The officers contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) about the living condition of the home but were told “a residence without power does not warrant a DCFS investigation.”

DCFS has been in regular contact with the family, however, and once removed AJ from the home shortly after he was born because he had opiates in his system.

Police were called to the home another time in 2014 after a woman at the house called to say she thought tenants who were living in the basement of the home were using heroin.

Crystal Lake Police Chief Thomas Kotlowski said he wanted to release the reports to the public after numerous public information requests from the media.

“We’ve seen a lot of decisions come down through the (attorney general’s office) and transparency in policing has been a hot topic in recent years now,” he said.

As the search for AJ continues, DCFS has removed the couple’s 4-year-old son Parker from the home. His parents tried to regain custody of their son in court Tuesday but the hearing was continued until a suitable representative can be found for the child, WBKB reports.