The parents of Andrew "AJ" Freund allegedly killed the 5-year-old boy after becoming irate that he'd lied about soiling his underwear, court documents reportedly reveal.
Freund’s tiny body was discovered last week in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock, Illinois, days after his parents had reported him missing.
Authorities quickly ruled out abduction as a possibility and began focusing their attention on those parents, JoAnn Cunningham, 36, and Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr., 60, ultimately charging each with five counts of murder after the boy's body was found. Prosecutors say he was forced to sit in a frigid shower before being beaten all over his body until he died.
The alleged beating may have been sparked after the boy lied about soiling himself, according to a sworn statement by McHenry County Sheriff’s Det. Edwin Maldonado included in a request for a search warrant on April 24. That document was obtained by the Chicago Tribune this week. Oxygen.com tried to obtain the document Thursday morning, but by that time it had been sealed by court order, according to the McHenry County Circuit Court.
“Drew explained he wanted JoAnn to stop with the hard physical beatings and do some less violent form of punishment,” the affidavit said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “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.’”
The father allegedly told Maldonado that he believes the boy died during the night.
“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,” the affidavit states. “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.”
Both parents are being held on $5 million bond.
Records released by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and obtained by Oxygen.com revealed that the parents had been previously accused of neglect and abuse, but each time the agency found the claims to be “unfounded.”
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