A little boy from the suburbs of Chicago was reported as missing on Thursday morning and the state is embarking upon a massive search party to locate him as soon as possible. Andrew “AJ” Freund is 5-years-old and was last seen by his parents around 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening at bedtime. The boy is from Crystal Lake and is the son of JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. Neither parent claims they have any idea of what happened to the little boy and are speaking out to him through the media, urging him to come home, according to CNN.
Thus far in the investigation, law enforcement has determined that it is unlikely the little boy was abducted. They also don’t believe he wandered off away from home on foot. Crystal Lake Police Department is now placing a specific focus on the boy’s residence. This is largely in part because the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been involved with the family in the past.
The department spokesman for Children and Family Services, Jassen Strokosc, stated that there was an instance in the past when Andrew’s mother was thought to be neglecting her children.
New: Police in Crystal Lake say they don’t believe a kidnapping took place as they continue to investigate the disappearance of 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund. Search dogs lost Andrew’s scent once they left his home, police said.
— Dakarai Turner (@Dakarai_Turner) April 19, 2019
Andrew “was brought into care with us” soon after he was born, when “neglect was indicated on part of the mom,” Strokosc stated.
Between 2013 and 2015, Andrew did not live in his family home and was cared for by someone else. Just last year, the department was called in to visit the family’s home on two separate occasions, once because of an allegation regarding neglect and the second time for abuse. Nevertheless, the department was unable to find evidence at that time of either. Andrew also has a younger sibling who is now living with a different family.
When speaking to television cameras, Andrew Freund Sr. begged his son to come home.
“AJ, please come home. We love you very much. You’re not in any trouble. We’re just worried to death. Please, please come home.”
Andrew’s mother’s attorney, George Kililis, stated that she “doesn’t know what happened to AJ, and had nothing to do with the disappearance of AJ.”
“Ms. Cunningham is worried sick. She is devastated,” he said.
Fifteen police agencies, drones, and rescue canine units have all been enlisted to help find Andrew. Thus far, there has been no sign of him. Police dogs were only able to pick up on the little boy’s scent in his home, thus making it unlikely he walked away on foot.