On what would have been A.J. Freund’s 6th birthday, Crystal Lake residents gathered for a march and a vigil to honor his memory.
A community group known as “Roar for AJ” organized the tribute on Sunday for Freund, who was found dead in April after his parents reported him missing. After Freund’s body was discovered, his parents were charged in his murder, and a shocked community has been asking for answers ever since.
Roar has been critical of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in the aftermath of Freund’s death. After Freund was born, he was placed into temporary custody because he had been born with drugs in his system, but was eventually returned to his mother, who now awaits trial in his death.
The group honored Freund with a three-mile walk, which moved past the boy’s home, and ended in a nearby park where the group sang “Happy Birthday.”
“What they did is not right,” Roar’s Tracy Kotzman said. “(We hope) justice is served for you.”
Authorities say that Freund was beaten to death by his parents on April 15, and that his father, Andrew Freund, made a fake 911 call to report him missing. The boy was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave, and a short time later his parents were indicted in his murder. Both are being held in the McHenry County Jail.