911 call released; missing boy lived in home full of dog feces, records show

Andrew AJ Freund 1

A Chicago father told police that he’d looked around his house, garage and the surrounding neighborhood for his missing 5-year-old son according to a recording of a 911 call released Tuesday.

Police reports indicate now-missing Andrew “AJ” Freund had been living in squalor as recently as December when an officer dispatched to the scene said the “smell of feces” in a bedroom where children slept was overwhelming and that there was “dog feces and urine” throughout the home.

Along with the 911 call, Crystal Lake police on Tuesday released more than 60 pages of reports regarding several police visits to the home from which Andrew “AJ” Freund was reported missing.

One report described a children’s bedroom where “the smell of feces was overwhelming.” The home was without electrical power, according to another report.

The reports that were released in response to a Freedom of Information request are heavily redacted but the officers write that the house is “cluttered, dirty and in disrepair.”  

In one case, police called for state child welfare workers after an officer notices a large bruise on the body of one of the children but the children were not removed from the home after the caseworker is unable to determine what caused the bruise.

In the 911 call last Thursday morning, Andrew Freund Sr. said his son was missing from his home in Crystal Lake

“We’ve checked closets, the basement, the garage, everywhere,” Freund told the dispatcher, adding that he had scoured the park, a nearby school and a “local gas station down here where we sometimes take him to buy treats.” But that there was no sign of the boy.

Police were still searching for AJ in a park in the heavily-wooded suburb Tuesday. Authorities said they planned to use sonar to search local ponds, and that an Illinois State Police plane would search the area to guide officers searching the ground in the community about 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

The department also said detectives were asking neighbors to hand over home surveillance video in the hopes that they might provide clues about the boy’s location.

Police did not say anything about the boy’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, who they have said is refusing to cooperate with detectives. Nor has the department said anything further about the detectives’ belief that the boy was not abducted, had not wandered or that its focus had changed since Monday, when it said the investigation was “focusing on the residence and the individuals that may have seen or had contact with AJ last.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the department released more than 60 pages of police reports written by officers who responded to various calls about the house.

 Another report said the officer found the house to be “cluttered, dirty and in disrepair,” and without electrical power.

The heavily-redacted reports also indicate state child welfare workers were called after officers spotted a large bruise on one of the young boys living there, but that the children appeared to be “healthy and happy” and were not removed from the house.

Cunningham and Freund were in court Tuesday seeking custody of their 4-year-old son, Parker.

Parker was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Thursday after Andrew was reported missing by his parents. The hearing was continued pending the appointment of a lawyer to represent the child.

The Northwest Herald reported Tuesday that the day the boy disappeared, Cunningham was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant just after she and Andrew Freund Sr. went to the Crystal Park Police Department to speak with investigators about their son. The paper said she was also scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on the traffic case.

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