Tensions are mounting in the disappearance of an Illinois boy, as his parents have stopped speaking to one another and investigators announced there is no indication an abduction took place.
According to his parents, Andrew “AJ” Freund was last seen around 9 p.m. Wednesday night in his Crystal Lake home when he was going to bed. His parents told investigators that when they woke up on Thursday morning he was gone, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But in the days following the boy’s disappearance, Crystal Lake Police have said they're focusing their investigative efforts on the boy’s residence.
“In reviewing all investigative information thus far, there is no indication that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place,” police said in a statement. “At this point, the police department has no reason to believe there is a threat to the community.”
A specially trained canine unit was brought in to assist with the case and was only able to pick up the boy’s scent “within the residence indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot,” police said.
The boy’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, continues to be “uncooperative” with investigators and has hired a criminal defense attorney to represent her as the days stretch on since her son was last seen alive.
That attorney told WGN that Cunningham and the boy’s father, Andrew Freund, are no longer speaking to each other.
But the boy’s father is talking to investigators and was seen leaving his home with undercover police officers on Saturday, when he was taken to the police station and questioned for approximately four hours.
He told the media that the disappearance has been “hell on earth” and asked for prayers for his missing son.
At the time their son disappeared, Cunningham, who is seven months pregnant, and Andrew Freund were both living in the same home but were no longer romantically involved.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has had repeated contact with the family since AJ was born with opiates in his system in 2013, the Chicago Sun Times reports.
Less than a month after he was born, he was placed into foster care, but was later returned to his parents in 2015. The office was contacted twice in 2018 after reports of suspected neglect, but both allegations were determined to be unfounded.
Since authorities were alerted to the disappearance, police have searched the boy’s home and a detached garage on the property.
Investigators also issued an Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System mutual aid request, which gave them the support of 15 police agencies. Together, investigators searched approximately 373 acres on foot and 497 acres using aerial drones, police said.
Investigators have also used boats and sonar equipment to scour portions of Crystal Lake, but have been unable to locate the boy.
Andrew was last seen wearing a blue Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants, police said. He is described as 3’5” tall with short, blonde hair.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.
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