CHICAGO—The mother of a 5-year-old suburban Chicago boy who went missing last week is refusing to cooperate with detectives, police said Monday, April 22.
JoAnn Cunningham has declined to say anything further to police since her initial report that Andrew “AJ” Freund had disappeared sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Crystal Lake Deputy Chief Tom Kotlowski said.
“She is a valuable resource because she was the last to see Andrew,” Kotlowski said, adding that the boy’s father, Andrew Freund, has spoken to detectives.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has long history with family of missing Crystal Lake 5-year-old, agency confirms, as police raid the boy’s home https://t.co/uZvZ2Jsb5w pic.twitter.com/xQHtIiSqXb
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) April 20, 2019
Cunningham does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, George Kililis, did not immediately return a call for comment on Monday, but late last week he told reporters that Cunningham had been cooperative “until at some point we got the impression that she may be considered a suspect.”
On Monday, Kotlowski said police K-9 teams have searched the area in and around the house in the heavily wooded community about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, and investigators are confident that the boy did not wander away on foot.
Officers arrive at home of missing Crystal Lake boy, father leaves scene with police https://t.co/jvBUygsJl9
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) April 20, 2019
Police have said there is no evidence the boy was abducted. A news release Monday said the investigation is “focusing on the residence and the individuals that may have seen or had contact with “AJ” last.”
In the days after the boy disappeared, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said that it has had previous contact with the family—stemming in part from the fact that the boy was born with opiates in his system. DCFS said the boy spent nearly two years in foster care before he was returned to his parents. DCFS had contact twice with the family in 2018 but deemed the allegations of neglect and abuse unfounded.
NEW: From Crystal Lake police on missing 5 yr-old AJ Freund: “As of today’s date, JoAnn Cunningham, the boy’s mother, continues to be uncooperative with police. On Saturday afternoon, Andrew Freund, the boy’s father, did speak with police detectives.”
— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) April 22, 2019
Meanwhile, when the boy disappeared last week, a younger son was placed into DCFS custody. The Northwest Herald reports that Cunningham is trying to regain custody of the younger boy and a hearing at the McHenry County courthouse is scheduled for Tuesday.
In a news release Monday, police said the mother of missing 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund of Crystal Lake “continues to be uncooperative” as their investigation focuses on the boy’s home and those who may have seen him last. https://t.co/qiPZ7HDqIV
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) April 22, 2019
On Friday, Freund Sr. had urged anyone with information to come forward while speaking directly to his son.
“AJ, please come home. We love you very much,” Freund Sr. told reporters. “You’re not in any trouble. We’re just worried to death. Please, please come home.”
A.J. was described as 3 feet,5 inches tall, weighing 70 pounds, with short blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a blue Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants.
Anyone with information regarding A.J.’s disappearance was asked to call police at 815-356-3620 or text an anonymous tip to 847411 with “CLPDTIP” at the beginning of the message.
Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report