WARNING: Details below may be disturbing for some readers.
A timeline released Friday detailing the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services' involvement with the family of Andrew "AJ" Freund included an encounter that had investigators questioning the boy's mother months before his brutal death.
Note: You can read the full timeline from DCFS at the bottom of the page or click here for more.
On Dec. 18, 2018, DCFS said it received a hotline report "alleging environmental neglect" to both AJ and his younger brother. The report claimed AJ had suffered cuts, welts and bruises.
"After being called to the home by the mother, police observed a large bruise on Andrew’s hip. Police observed the ceiling falling down, the floor torn up, and the kids’ bedroom smelled of dog urine. JoAnn was arrested for driving on a suspended license and Protective Custody was taken of both children," DCFS said in its report.
A DCFS investigator interviewed both boys at the Crystal Lake Police Department, but said the younger brother would not talk.
"The child appeared to be healthy and well cared for. Andrew was interviewed and reported that he received the bruise when the family dog pawed him," the report stated.
The children's mother told police the family was remodeling the home and did admit to dog feces and urine being present. The investigator asked her to take Andrew to Immediate Care after she was bailed out by the children's father and the children were returned home, DCFS said.
Once at the ER, a physician examined Andrew and "could not state how his injury was caused."
"The doctor reported injury could have been caused by a dog, belt or a football. The doctor was concerned because Andrew stated that 'maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me,' the report showed.
An investigator contacted the father to pick the children up from hospital until the home environment could be assessed. The father was asked to remain in the home as a safety precaution.
DCFS has been subject to scrutiny after Joann Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. were charged with AJ's disappearance and death, six days after they reported him missing.
The agency had been in contact with the family since 2012, prior to AJ's birth, through January 2019, when an investigation into Cunningham was closed after an investigator found no evidence to support allegations of abuse and neglect, according to DCFS.
The McHenry County coroner's office determined that AJ died of "craniocerebral trauma as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries."
A criminal complaint filed Thursday alleged the parents forced AJ to stand in a cold shower and beat him, causing his death, three days before the child was reported missing to police.
Investigators found the boy's body Wednesday 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.
Police said both parents were questioned overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning after information was obtained during a "forensic analysis of cell phone data."
"Once presented with the evidence obtained by investigators, both Joann and Andrew Sr. provided information that ultimately led to the recovery, what we believe is the recovery of deceased subject AJ," Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black.
The timeline from DCFS can be read as published in full below:
June 7, 2012
DCFS received a hotline call alleging inadequate supervision. The allegations were that JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and neglecting her foster child. The report was unfounded and expunged.
Dec. 24, 2012
DCFS hotline received a call alleging environmental neglect and injurious environment as to her oldest son. The report alleged JoAnn is abusing prescription drugs and has mental health issues. The report was unfounded and expunged.
Oct. 16, 2013
DCFS received a hotline report alleging substance misuse by neglect, after JoAnn gave birth to Andrew on 10/14/13. Andrew and JoAnn tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. The report was indicated for Substance Misuse. Andrew was removed from his mother’s care during the investigation.
Nov. 12, 2013
DCFS takes protective custody of Andrew.
Nov. 14, 2013
DCFS is granted temporary custody of Andrew in Juvenile Court. Youth Service Bureau of Illinois is assigned to provide services to the parents and Andrew.
JoAnn and Andrew’s father participated in parenting classes, drug treatment and continued to participate in methadone maintenance and individual counseling through a drug treatment program.
Judge orders Andrew returned to the custody of his mother.
June 2015 - April 2016
A Youth Service Bureau worker makes 17 unannounced visits to the parents’ home on:
June 24, 2015
July 1, 2015
July 8, 2015
July 22, 2015
Aug. 5, 2015
Aug. 9, 2015
Aug. 27, 2015
Sept. 1, 2015
Sept. 29, 2015
Oct. 4, 2015
Oct. 26, 2015
Dec. 17, 2015
Jan. 13, 2016
Jan. 21, 2016
Feb. 2, 2016
Feb. 25, 2016
March 11. 2016
The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect.
A Youth Service Bureau worker makes nine scheduled visits to the parents’ home on:
June 13, 2015
June 17, 2015
July 7, 2015
July 20, 2015
Sept. 15, 2015
Nov. 12, 2015
Dec. 3, 2015
March 24, 2016
April 13, 2016
The worker does not observe any signs of abuse or neglect.
Aug. 28, 2015
Worker is informed the father’s drug test was invalid.
Andrew’s juvenile court case is closed.
March 21, 2018
DCFS received a hotline report that alleged substantial risk of physical injury/injurious environment and environment neglect against the mother and father. The report alleged that the mother was brought to the emergency room after being found unresponsive in a car. Andrew was observed at the hospital to have odd bruising on his face.
March - April 2019
DCFS investigator contacted the parents in unsuccessful attempt to see the children on:
March 21, 2018
March 29, 2018
April 9, 2019
April 25, 2019
March 21, 2018
DCFS investigator met with JoAnn, Andrew and his younger brother. JoAnn was interviewed while the boys played outside in the driveway of the home. DCFS investigator observed the boys to be clean and did not find signs of maltreatment.
May 17, 2018
DCFS investigator completed a final safety assessment of the home. Both boys were observed clean and dressed appropriately. Mother reported a history of drug use and current drug treatment. The home was observed to be clean, neat and adequately furnished.
May 18, 2018
DCFS investigator verified mother’s participation in a drug treatment program. The report from March, 2018 was unfounded and the investigation closed.
Dec. 18, 2018
DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect as to both boys and cuts, welts and bruises as to Andrew. After being called to the home by the mother, police observed a large bruise on Andrew’s hip. Police observed the ceiling falling down, the floor torn up, and the kids’ bedroom smelled of dog urine. JoAnn was arrested for driving on a suspended license and Protective Custody was taken of both children.
DCFS investigator interviewed the boys at Crystal Lake Police Department. DCFS investigator attempted to engage the younger brother who would not talk to the investigator. The child appeared to be healthy and well cared for. Andrew was interviewed and reported that he received the bruise when the family dog pawed him. DCFS investigator interviewed JoAnn at the police station. She stated they were remodeling the home and did admit to dog feces and urine being present in the home. DCFS investigator asked her to take Andrew to Immediate Care after she was bailed out. The father presented to bond mother out. JoAnn requested to be tested for drugs. DCFS investigator ended Protective Custody and children were returned home.
ER Physician examined Andrew and could not state how his injury was caused. The doctor reported injury could have been caused by a dog, belt or a football. The doctor was concerned because Andrew stated that “maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.” DCFS investigator contacted the father to pick the children up from hospital until the home environment can be assessed. The father was asked to remain in the home as a safety precaution.
Dec. 19, 2018
DCFS investigator conducted an unannounced home visit. The home was observed. The living room and dining room were cluttered with clothes and toys. The kitchen was clean and the floor was missing tile. The ceiling was not falling and investigator sensed a slight odor of dog urine. No feces or urine was observed on the floor. The father reported to the investigator that he did pick the children up from the hospital last night. The father denied any corporal punishment and he denied mother using drugs.
Dec. 20, 2018
DCFS investigator spoke with the past DCFS investigator regarding her case and findings.
Jan. 4, 2019
DCFS unfounded the report due to lack of evidence for cuts, welt and bruises allegation.
April 18, 2019
The police were called to the home in response to Andrew being reported missing and DCFS received a hotline report alleging environmental neglect and inadequate supervision. Police observed the home to have ripped up floors, food lying around and clothes/garbage everywhere.
DCFS investigator arrived at the Crystal Lake Police Department and spoke with the police. Protective custody of younger brother was taken. The younger brother was placed with a licensed foster parent. The younger brother was examined by a medical professional, appeared healthy and showed no obvious visible signs of abuse or neglect.
April 24, 2019
Police found Andrew’s body and arrested JoAnn and Andrew’s father on charges of murder and other charges related to his death.