Autopsy, Court Hearing Set in Case of Missing Illinois Boy

A police bloodhound sniffs the ground in front of the home of 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund last week in Crystal Lake, Ill. Police found the boy’s body Wednesday and charged his parents with murder. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune via AP)

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois couple is due in court on charges accusing them in the death of their 5-year-old son after a body believed to be his was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave.

McHenry County sheriff’s records show 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham and 60-year-old Andrew Freund Sr. of Crystal Lake have a Thursday morning hearing.

They were arrested Wednesday and face murder and battery charges in the killing of Andrew “AJ” Freund.

Authorities say an autopsy could happen Thursday.

Cunningham and Freund reported AJ missing a week ago and authorities used sonar and canine units to search the area for the boy. On Wednesday, detectives confronted the parents with cellphone data evidence, which led investigators to the boy’s body in a “makeshift grave” near a farm access road.

Joann Cunningham, along with her husband Andrew Freund Sr., have been charged with murder and other charges in the death of their missing son Andrew “AJ” Freund. Crystal Lake police Chief James Black said at a news conference Wednesday that police dug up what they believe is the body of the 5-year-old boy in a field, and that it was wrapped in plastic. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said during a news conference that investigators found what they believe to be the remains of AJ in the neighboring city of Woodstock.

The parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, each face five counts of first-degree murder and other charges.

When they reported him missing last Thursday, the couple told officers they last saw him at bedtime the night before.

Officers removed several items from the family’s, including a shovel, a mattress, brown paper bags and plastic storage tub. A bloodhound failed to pick up the boy’s scent outside the house, which led police to believe he had not wandered away or been abducted.

His mother, Cunningham, refused to cooperate with detectives after reporting her son missing. Her attorney said it was because she believed police were treating her as a suspect.

State child welfare officials have taken custody of the couple’s 4-year-old son, Parker.

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