A neighbor told CBS 2 she raised red flags.
Janelle Butler moved right across the street from the family a few years ago. And while she called the police when she saw what she says any parent would find concerning, there are a few moments now that she just can’t get out of her head.
One late night during a snow storm she says she heard calls for help coming from the family’s car. The boys were yelling they were cold.
“All of a sudden A.J. pops out from under a bunch of black garbage bags filled with clothes or something, I don’t know, and says, ‘Boo!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, A.J., why are you guys out here with the snow?’” she said. “And he goes, ‘My parents are going to kill each other, but if they don’t, my mom and I and [my brother] are going to have an adventure at a hotel. We are going to have an adventure tonight.’”
The head of communications told CBS 2’s Tara Molina he would have more information to share on the case Thursday morning, but had not shared anything 6 p.m.
CBS 2 will follow up with DCFS to try to get that information.
A.J.’s body was found Wednesday morning, wrapped in plastic, and buried in a shallow grave near Woodstock, about 7 miles from his family’s home in Crystal Lake.
His parents, 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham and 60-year-old Andrew Freund Sr., have been charged with his murder. They had told police they put him to bed on the night of April 17, and found him gone the next morning, but according to court documents, they killed him on April 15.
According to court documents, both parents forced A.J. to stay in a cold shower “for an extended period of time” and struck him repeatedly on his body on April 15, and then A.J.’s father buried the boy’s body later that day.
Cunningham also faces aggravated battery charges for allegedly beating A.J. on March 4, causing “great bodily harm.”
A.J.’s official cause of death is blunt force trauma to the brain, according to the McHenry County Coroner.