Crystal Lake

Missing Crystal Lake Boy's Parents Expected to Attend Custody Hearing for Other Son

Wednesday marks exactly one week since Andrew "AJ" Freund was last seen

As the search continues for missing suburban 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund, the boy's parents were expected to attend a hearing on Tuesday to regain custody of their younger son, who authorities took from them after AJ's disappearance.

Wednesday marks exactly one week since AJ was last seen by his parents, who said they put him to bed at their Crystal Lake home at around 9 p.m.

The child was reported missing the following morning, though an Amber Alert was not issued because police said they had not found evidence AJ was abducted.

Continuing the dayslong search on Monday night, officials scoured Lippold Park, located close to the family's home in the 0-100 block of Dole Avenue.

The search was eventually called off because of the weather, the Northwest Herald reported, citing McHenry County Emergency Management.

AJ's mother Joann Cunningham retained an attorney early in the investigation and has ceased cooperating with police.

George Kililis, her defense attorney, told reporters that he got the impression she was being treated as a suspect and advised her to stop all communications with law enforcement. Kililis claimed police had stopped searching for the boy, an assertion Crystal Lake police denied.

"Ms. Cunningham doesn’t know what happened to AJ and had nothing to do with the disappearance of AJ," Kililis told reporters. "Ms. Cunningham is worried sick, she’s devastated and we are asking for a little bit of privacy and understanding and compassion from you guys and the community. And we are asking for the community’s help in trying to find AJ."

AJ's father Andrew Freund Sr. was spotted leaving their home with police over the weekend as part of the investigation, and sent a message to his son via the media last week.

"Andrew, please come home," he said. "You are not in trouble."

Authorities said Friday that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had taken the boy’s younger brother into custody, and documents released revealed a troubled history for the family, including allegations of neglect related to the missing boy, whom authorities say was born with opiates in his system.

DCFS' involvement with the missing boy and his family began with his birth in 2013 and continued on and off through the end of 2018, DCFS communications director Jassen Strokosch said. The last contact between DCFS child protection staff and Andrew’s family was in December of 2018, he said, while investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.

Cunningham and Freund Sr. were both expected to attend the DCFS hearing Tuesday afternoon at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, according to Cunningham's attorney, who said he planned to hold a press conference afterwards.

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