Andrew Freund, A.J. Freund’s father, was sentenced to 30 years in prison nearly one and a half years after his son was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave.
Following a plea deal, Andrew was sentenced to 11 years for aggravated battery of a child, 14 years for involuntary manslaughter, and five years for the concealment of his son’s murder. In December 2019, A.J.’s mother JoAnn Cunningham pleaded guilty to one count of murder. In July, JoAnn was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
On the morning of April 15, 2019, A.J.’s lifeless body was found in his bed. The night prior, the child’s mother and father beat him, forced him into a freezing shower, and then put the child to bed whilst wet. The autopsy results revealed that A.J. died of multiple blunt force injuries to the head, but his father believes that A.J. had died solely from “spending a prolonged time in a cold shower.”
On April 18, 2019, Andrew called 911 to report that his child was missing. According to ABC17, a local Illinois station, Andrew was working with the police as well as looking for A.J. himself. On ABC News, JoAnn tearfully pleaded for her son’s return.
After a week of searching, Andrew eventually lead the police to Woodstock, Illinois where had had buried his son’s body. In a press conference at the time, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black stated that both parents “provided information that ultimately led to the recovery” of A.J.’s body via “forensic analysis of cell phone data.”
Andrew confessed that he had hid his son’s body in a plastic bin in the basement of his Crystal Lake home for two days. His attorney, Special Public Defender Henry Sugden, told PEOPLE that Andrew “wasn’t really part of the beatings” but “allowed things to continue that he shouldn’t have,” so he was “given considerations for that” during his sentencing. Sugden also added that his client, “admitted his guilt. He led them to the body. And without the body, they would not have had a time of death, cause of death, or manner of death, or anything.”
According to KHQA, under the state of Illinois’ truth in sentencing laws, Andrew could end up serving only 18 years in prison.