AJ Freund’s Dad Isn’t The Father Of Slain 5-Year-Old’s Newborn Sister, Paternity Tests Show

Andrew Freund, the Illinois man accused of beating his 5-year-old son AJ to death, isn’t the father of his partner JoAnn Cunningham’s newborn daughter, who was born in prison weeks after the couple’s arrest.

By Dorian Geiger

A paternity test shows that Andrew Freund Sr., the man accused of killing his young son Andrew “AJ” Freund, is not the father of another child born to the boy’s mother in prison roughly a month after the couple’s arrest. 

Freund, 60, and JoAnn Cunningham were charged in the death of their 5-year-old son in April. However, Cunningham's newborn daughter isn't Freund's, the Associated Press reports.

A 37-year-old man, who formerly lived with the Illinois couple in suburban Chicago and who is currently in a rehabilitation program for substance abuse, is the child’s father. The man wasn’t present in McHenry County court when the results were announced on Monday.

Illinois authorities launched an extensive manhunt after AJ was reported missing on April 18. At the time, Freund and Cunningham told police they had last seen him the previous evening, however, Freund later confessed his son had died around April 15.

Andrew Freund, Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham

AJ’s body was recovered from a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic near the family’s home in Woodstock, Illinois on April 24.

Authorities say AJ was forced to take a frigid shower and was beaten after soiling himself. Freund and Cunningham then allegedly put him to bed “cold, wet and naked,” according to court documents obtained by the New York Daily News. The 5-year-old died of blunt force trauma to his head.

A.J. Freund

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services reportedly had several encounters with the family leading up to AJ’s death, stretching all the way back to 2012, before the boy was even born. However, numerous allegations of child maltreatment had been repeatedly dismissed by DCFS.

“DCFS is currently conducting a comprehensive review of our work with AJ’s family,” the agency said in a statement shortly after the couple’s arrest, according to the Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

Shortly after Cunningham, 36, gave birth to AJ in October 2013, the agency temporarily removed the boy from the family’s care, after Cunningham’s toxicology report tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines, the Lake and McHenry County Scanner also reported. AJ was returned to Cunningham 18 months later. 

Months before he was killed, AJ was also seen by a doctor, who examined some minor injuries AJ had sustained, which his parents explained came from the family dog, DCFS reported. 

“Maybe someone hit me with a belt,” AJ told the physician, according to DCFS records. “Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.” 

The physician stated that the boy’s injuries were caused by either a belt, a dog, or a football.

Following their arrest, Freund and Cunningham agreed to give up custody of another child, a 4-year-old boy, the Associated Press reported. 

Freund and Cunningham have also been charged with abuse of a corpse, unlawful restraint, concealment of death, and aggravated domestic battery. Their bonds have been set at $500,000, according to McHenry County online jail records.

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