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The ex-husband of a woman accused of killing her 5-year-old son claims she was a normal, decent person until drugs changed her.
The body of Andrew "AJ" Freund 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 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.
Craig Summerkamp told the British tabloid Daily Mail that he and Cunningham married in 2009 but they divorced three years later in 2012. It was during the divorce process, in fact, that Cunningham met Andrew Freund Sr., who represented her. They later married and had AJ in 2013.
"Our marriage started off well and it was like a switch flipped in her head," Summerkamp told the tabloid, referring to her alleged use of prescription painkillers.
He called her a “decent person” before she began allegedly using drugs.
“But then she got hooked on pills and it all went downhill super fast,” he claims.
Summerkamp said Cunningham accused him of beating her and called the police before filing an order of protection, charges that he claims were unfounded.
Abuse allegations are nothing new to Cunningham, though she was on the other side of them during AJ's short life.
Records released by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and obtained by Oxygen.com revealed that Cunningham’s toxicology screen tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines when AJ was born. He was taken away from her and placed with a relative, but only for a while - he was reunited with his mother at 18 months old.
In March 2018, DCFS investigated allegations of neglect by her and her husband but they closed that case by May. Then, in December, little AJ was removed from the family home and taken to the emergency room so doctors could examine bruising on his hip. DCFS wrote that during that incident a “doctor was concerned because Andrew stated that, 'Maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.'"
The bruising was later attributed to the family dog pawing at AJ and he was returned to the home. Months later, he was dead.
Cunningham has been charged with five counts of murder, four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death. Freund Sr. has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of homicidal death and one count of failure to report missing or child death.
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