Police remove shovel, other items from missing boy’s home; body reportedly found

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Officers on Wednesday removed several items from the home of an Illinois couple whose 5-year-old son has been missing for nearly a week, including a shovel, mattress, paper bags and a plastic storage tub.

The items were removed from the Crystal Lake home of Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham hours before police and the FBI planned to update the public about developments in the search for Andrew “AJ” Freund.

Authorities say the couple reported the boy missing on Thursday and told officers they had last seen him at bedtime the previous night.

Police said they don’t believe the boy was abducted and that they don’t believe he left the home on foot. They have also said they were “focusing on the residence and the individuals that may have seen or had contact with AJ last,” and that Cunningham wasn’t cooperating with detectives.

On Tuesday, the department released more than 60 pages of police reports written by officers who responded to various calls about the house, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.

One report described seeing the home littered with dog feces and urine, and a children’s bedroom where “the smell of feces was overwhelming.” Another report said the officer found the house to be “cluttered, dirty and in disrepair,” and without electrical power.

The heavily-redacted reports also indicate state child welfare workers were called after officers spotted a large bruise on one of the young boys living there, but that the children appeared to be “healthy and happy” and were not removed from the house.

Cunningham and Freund were in court Tuesday seeking custody of their 4-year-old son, Parker. Parker was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Thursday after Andrew was reported missing by his parents. The hearing was continued pending the appointment of a lawyer to represent the child.

The Northwest Herald reported Tuesday that the day AJ disappeared, Cunningham was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant just after she and Andrew Freund Sr. went to the Crystal Park Police Department to speak with investigators about their son. The paper said she was also scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on the traffic case.

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