Police: 5-year-old Illinois boy died from repeated blows to the head – UPI News

April 26 (UPI) – A 5-year-old Illinois boy whose body was found Wednesday wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave died from repeated blows to the head three days before his father reported him missing, according to authorities.

Andrew “AJ” Freund died of injuries to his skull and brain sustained from blunt-force trauma, according to a statement from McHenry County Coroner’s Office released Thursday, CBS Chicago reported.

His parents, Joann Cunningham, 36, and Andrew Freund, Sr, 60, were charged with AJ’s death Wednesday after the discovery of his body.

According to court documents, his parents forced AJ to remain “in a cold shower for an extended period of time” and was struck to death on April 15.

AJ’s father reported him missing to police April 18, telling the 911 dispatch operator he had last seen his son the night before when he put him to bed.

A search involving 15 police agencies, drones and canine units followed.

The body was discovered after investigators with the Crystal Lake Police Department and the FBI presented AJ’s parents with new information obtained through a forensic analysis of cellphone data.

Freund gave police information that led to AJ’s body, which was buried in Woodstock, Ill., some seven miles from their Crystal Lake residence.

On Thursday, bond for Freund and Cunningham was set at $5 million. If they post bail, which is 10 percent of the bond, they would be placed under electronic monitoring.

Both parents face five counts of first-degree murder and one count of failure to report a missing or child death. Cunningham faces four counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated domestic battery. Freund was also charged with two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery and two counts of concealment of homicidal death.

AJ’s 3-year-old brother was removed from the home and placed with another family following his disappearance.

Earlier this week, police released 63 pages of reports of interactions with Cunningham and Freund, which detailed living conditions. The report said “dog feces and urine were scattered about the residence” and that one of the two boys had a large bruise that a healthcare worker couldn’t ascertain if it was the product of abuse.


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