The body of missing 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund has been found in Woodstock, Illinois and his parents have been charged in connection to his death, six days after he was reported missing from his Crystal Lake home, authorities said Wednesday.
Charges include first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing child death, police said.
Both parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and Joann Cunningham, are in custody.
Andrew's body was found in a shallow grave wrapped in plastic Wednesday morning in a rural portion of Woodstock, according to authorities. The cause of Andrew's death was not immediately known, police said.
The attorney for the child's mother, George Kililis, was seen leaving the police station Wednesday morning but declined to comment on if Cunningham was inside. According to members of the police department, it was believed the mother was inside the police station at some point Wednesday.
"You will get your comment from police soon," Kililis said, his voice raspy and faded.
A massive law enforcement presence was seen searching an area near Gayle Drive and Dean Street in Woodstock Wednesday morning, but it remained unclear if that was related to the case. Authorities also searched the child's Dole Avenue home in Crystal Lake in the morning hours.
Evidence technicians were also seen bringing items into the police station Wednesday morning. Those items included a mattress, a large bin, two large brown bags, and an item with a long wooden handle, which appeared to be a shovel.
Wednesday marked one full week since AJ was last seen and six days since he was reported missing by his parents, who said they last saw the child while putting him to bed in their northwest suburban home on the evening of April 17.
The following morning, AJ's father, Andrew Freund Sr., called police to report that his son was not in the house and that they had canvassed the neighborhood, went to a local park, checked an area gas station and called his school - but AJ was nowhere to be found, according to the 911 call released Tuesday.
"We have a missing child," Freund Sr. told dispatchers in the 911 call made Thursday morning.
Police and first responders descended on wooded areas and ponds in Crystal Lake Tuesday as they continued their search.
Meanwhile, Kenneally urged anyone who may know something to come forward. Kenneally said the worst thing someone can do in this case is conceal the truth.
"We will literally be working on this case every day until we find AJ or get justice for him," he said.
Police have asked the public for any video surveillance from the area the days and hours before and after AJ went missing.
"This would include video from home surveillance devices like the Ring Home Security System," police said in a release Tuesday.
Authorities said they were looking for video taken between 7 a.m. on April 15 and 9 a.m. on April 18 and asked anyone with footage related to the investigation to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the days following AJ's disappearance, police said they focused their search on the family’s Crystal Lake home, saying they do not believe the child was abducted.
Police had said Cunningham was not cooperating.
Both parents appeared Tuesday in McHenry County Circuit Court for a hearing as they seek to regain custody of their other son, who was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Thursday after AJ was reported missing. The hearing was continued, with the next hearing set for Monday at 9 a.m. CT.
"I have no control over what people think," Freund Sr. said over the weekend. "I just want my son to come home, OK."
Crystal Lake police said they haven't stopped searching for AJ and continue to work as hard as they can.
The child is about 3 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs roughly 70 pounds and has short, blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a blue Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants.
Anyone who may have information on his whereabouts is being asked to call (815) 356-3620. They can also text information along with the word CLPDTIP to 847411.