Many are expected to pay their respects Friday in a public visitation for 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund in Crystal Lake.
The young boy's disappearance and murder sent shockwaves across the Chicago area and the country last month after a week-long search ended with his body found and his parents charged with murder.
The public visitation will be held from 1-8 p.m. at the Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, located at 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave. in Crystal Lake.
NBC 5 will offer live coverage from the funeral home throughout the gathering. Viewers who cannot attend the visitation can watch the services live online and in the app.
Read his full obituary below.
"AJ’s family and friends would like to the thank Crystal Lake and surrounding communities for their generosity, prayers and outpouring love and support," AJ's obituary read. "As difficult and tragic as this is, may AJ’s death bring awareness and hope to other children living under abusive conditions. No child deserves this. Let us rise up and make sure it does not happen to other innocent children."
AJ's parents were each ordered held on $5 million bonds one day after they were charged in the boy's death.
Crystal Lake police said late last month that investigators located the boy's body wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock, just miles from the Crystal Lake home where he was reported missing.
Community members have flocked to the child's Crystal Lake home to leave candles, balloons and stuffed animals to remember the young child. Many wore blue Friday in his memory.
Not long after the services were announced, a tribute wall already had several entries on the funeral home's website.
Read his full obituary below. For information on how to donate in his name click here.
On October 14, 2013 Andrew “AJ” Freund was born into this world. A ray of sunshine with a smile that could light up the room, AJ was a loving, affectionate and outgoing little boy. His giggle and laugh will never be forgotten, and although his life on earth ended on April 15, 2019, he will be forever remembered in the hearts of people throughout our community and all over the world.
AJ got to be both the little brother and the big brother. They loved each other intensely and AJ being a big fan of hugs, was always jumping in for a big bear hug. They were truly blessed to always have a buddy. Like many boys his age, he loved to draw and make maps. Playing outside was the ultimate, but when he had to be indoors you could find him drawing, reading books or putting puzzles together. Of course, a picture had to be taken to document his puzzle achievements! Quoting Bob the Builder while playing with Legos, AJ would sit and build for hours. He was a smart kid and couldn’t wait to start kindergarten in the fall and make new friends.
In honor of AJ, a public visitation will be Friday, May 3, from 1pm until 8pm at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave. (Rte. 176), Crystal Lake.
To give a memorial in AJ’s name see the link below. If you have further questions, you are welcome to call the funeral home at 815-459-3411.
AJ’s family and friends would like to the thank Crystal Lake and surrounding communities for their generosity, prayers and outpouring love and support. As difficult and tragic as this is, may AJ’s death bring awareness and hope to other children living under abusive conditions. No child deserves this. Let us rise up and make sure it does not happen to other innocent children.