Just months after telling a doctor in Illinois about all the horrible things his mother was doing to him, Andrew AJ Freund died. Now his parents have been charged with his murder. A hotline tip came from an anonymous source back in December and police went to Andrew’s residences to check on him. They found a massive bruise on the five-year-old’s hip, and when asked about it, the boy told investigators that it was from the family dog.
“Maybe someone hit me with a belt,” he told the doctor. “Maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”
The doctor submitted this report to the Department of Children and Family Services. Although the boy had varying reasons for the bruise, the doctor was unable to determine the exact cause of the injury. In the report, the doctor wrote that the bruise could have resulted from “a dog, belt or football.” With a lack of evidence to do anything, the case was closed a month later.
A pathologist found that the boy had died from head trauma that resulted from a blunt force injury.
DCFS had a large file on Andrew and his family. They have since released the plethora of their records, which shows their extensive interaction with Cunningham and Freund Sr. Throughout the boy’s short life, DCFS agents made 17 unannounced visits to check on the boy between June 2015 and March 2016. At the time, the worker found no evidence of abuse and did not notice anything untoward.
DCFS was called on Cunningham in 2012 because she was allegedly abusing prescription drugs and neglecting her foster child. These instances came before AJ was even born. He was born into a troubled home and one that had been subject to “environmental neglect and injurious environment” for Cunningham’s eldest son.
When AJ was born, Cunningham and AJ tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. He was removed from her care for eight months before he was reunited with his birth parents.
What kind of punishment do you think the parents of this murdered boy should face?