AJ Freund: Crystal Lake home of murdered boy demolished

Diane Pathieu Image
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
AJ Freund: Crystal Lake home of murdered boy demolished
Crews demolished the Crystal Lake house where police said five-year-old A.J. Freund was murdered by his parents Wednesday morning.

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Crews demolished the Crystal Lake house where police said five-year-old A.J. Freund was murdered by his parents Wednesday morning.

Almost a year later, the home that was a symbol of tragedy and heartbreak for the community has been destroyed. Piece by piece, the home on Dole Avenue came down. Clothing, toys and even pictures were still inside the home.

"I thought of A.J.'s stuff being grabbed and disposed of and just I don't even know what to say, so many emotions just got me, just videotaping, I was shaking. Just overwhelming, very overwhelming," said resident Carla Verb.

A.J. Freund's father, 61-year-old Andrew Freund, reported him missing last April, fueling a major search for the boy by law enforcement and people across the community.

Freund eventually led police to his son's body, which was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

His parents, Andrew Freund and 37-year-old JoAnn Cunningham, were charged with murder and remain behind bars.

JoAnn Cunningham has pleaded guilty in her son's murder. Her sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Soon after, the city cited a number of code violations to the property and declared it dangerous.

Neighbors looked at the home as a place of horror and sadness and wanted to see it gone too.

"What went on in that house and house disgusting. It is. It needs to go down," said resident Terra Bedi.

The company Green Demolition volunteered their services to tear the home down. They began Wednesday morning and the home was demolished in less than an hour.

Some residents said they hope some type of memorial honoring A.J. will go up in place of the home.


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