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Scott Olson/GettyAndrew “A.J.” Freund, the 5-year-old Illinois boy whose body was found Wednesday morning in the woods, was forced into a cold shower “for an extended period of time” before he was beaten “repeatedly” to death by his parents on April 15, prosecutors allege. He died as a result of “craniocerebral trauma” caused by “multiple blunt force injuries,” the McHenry County Coroner's office announced Thursday. Nine days after his murder, the missing toddler’s body was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave about seven miles away from his Crystal Lake home. The toddler’s parents, 36-year-old JoAnn Cunningham, who is currently pregnant, and 60-year-old Andrew Freund Sr., were arrested and charged hours after the Wednesday discovery with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, domestic battery, and failure to report a missing child or child death. Freund Sr. was also charged with concealment of a death.“It was apparent to me that nobody was going to sleep and nobody will sleep until justice is brought for AJ. This is the beginning of that process,” said FBI Agent Jeffrey Sallet at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.The couple appeared at McHenry County Circuit Court on Thursday morning, wearing orange prison jumpsuits as Judge Robert A. Wilbrandt set their bond at $5 million each. Both were represented by public defenders, who did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that three days before the 5-year-old’s parents reported him missing, he was forced into the shower and then “struck” to death.Local, state, and federal authorities launched a multi-county search for the little boy, finally finding his body after the couple was confronted with cell-phone evidence, Crystal Lake Police Chief Jim Black told The Daily Beast on Thursday. Search crews recovered the toddler’s body in the woods and technicians immediately removed evidence from the family’s home, including a child’s mattress and a shovel. “To A.J.’s family, it is my hope that you may have some solace knowing that A.J. is no longer suffering, and his killers have been brought to justice,” Black said Wednesday. “To A.J., we know you’re at peace playing in heaven’s playground, and are happy you no longer have to suffer.”According to Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) records, A.J. was born in 2013 with “opiates in his system,” and was removed from his parents’ custody a month later. He was placed in foster care, records show, for two years before he was returned to Cunningham and Freund Sr. in June 2015. Twice last year, DCFS caseworkers were called to the Freund home to investigate separate allegations of neglect, but both were “determined to be unfounded,” a spokesperson said Thursday. In December, when police called the agency after Cunningham was arrested on a misdemeanor traffic charge, authorities documented “significant problems” with the couple’s “cluttered” and “dirty” home, including an “overwhelming” “smell of feces” in the toddlers’ bedroom, documents show. Crystal Lake Police also confirmed officers visited the home, which is an hour outside of Chicago, about 10 times over the past five years, and often noted the poor condition of the house in their reports. “This news is heartbreaking. Protecting vulnerable children who come to our attention is at the core of our mission at DCFS. All of us feel this loss,” Marc Smith, acting director of DCFS, said in a statement obtained by The Daily Beast. “Our priority is the care and safety of Andrew’s younger sibling.”A DCFS spokesman confirmed Thursday that the couple’s younger son, 3-year-old Parker, has been placed in protective custody.Cunningham and Freund are scheduled to appear in court on April 29. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an intriguing twist to the global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea, which appeared to hit a wall after a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump collapsed in February.
Deputy AG Rosenstein offers staunch defense of Russia investigation
IXTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — The train known as "The Beast" is once again rumbling through the night loaded with people headed toward the U.S. border after a raid on a migrant caravan threatened to end the practice of massive highway marches through Mexico
The senator from Massachusetts delivers a strong performance at a gathering organized by women of color activists.
The remains of Andrew "AJ" Freund, wrapped in plastic, were found in a community near his home town of Crystal Lake, based on information provided to investigators by his mother and father, Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Tom Kotlowski said in a statement. "To AJ's family, it is our hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice," Kotlowski said in the statement. "To AJ, we know you are at peace playing in heaven's playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer," he said.
“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Trump said Wednesday on Twitter, in his latest criticism of reaction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "There no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all," he asserted in a subsequent Twitter posting.
A group of anti-Islam protesters gathered at a conference in Washington, D.C. One woman's reaction: 'I smiled in the face of bigotry.'
Air Canada said Thursday that its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX jets will remain grounded until at least August 1, pushing back a previous estimate for their return to service. Two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft -- one operated by Ethiopian Airlines and another by Lion Air -- have crashed in recent months, killing nearly 350 people. Air Canada's 24 MAX jetliners were grounded in March following the second crash.
A 13-year-old girl who was placed on life support after being attacked bythree other girls has died, according to ABC 13