Police responding to a hotline report discovered a big bruise on AJ’s hip in December. At first, he advised investigators the bruise got here from the household canine.
However an emergency room doctor famous that AJ later gave a unique cause. “Perhaps somebody hit me with a belt. Perhaps Mommy did not imply to harm me,” he mentioned, in keeping with a Division of Youngsters and Household Providers abstract of its report.
The physician couldn’t decide the reason for the bruise however mentioned it may have resulted from “a canine, belt or soccer,” in keeping with DCFS. The case was closed a month later for lack of proof.
AJ’s physique was discovered wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave Wednesday. His mother and father, Andrew Freund Sr., 60, and JoAnn Cunningham, 36, have been charged with homicide. A pathologist discovered he died from head trauma because of blunt drive accidents, in keeping with a coroner’s report.
Calls of neglect and abuse
The DCFS launched a abstract of its information, studies and paperwork exhibiting its interplay with AJ’s household. It detailed quite a few encounters with the household, together with 17 unannounced visits between June 2015 and March 2016. On the time. The employee didn’t observe indicators of abuse or neglect.
Final week, DCFS acquired one other hotline name alleging neglect and insufficient supervision on the dwelling. The decision got here on the identical day AJ’s mother and father reported him lacking. Info from the couple finally led to the restoration of his physique in Woodstock, about 10 miles from their dwelling in Crystal Lake, police mentioned.
The DCFS report Friday revealed a protracted historical past of kid welfare hotline calls with studies of a troubled homelife, squalid residing circumstances and drug abuse by the mother and father. A few of these calls predate AJ’s delivery.
In 2012, DCFS was referred to as on Cunningham twice: as soon as on accusations of abusing prescribed drugs and neglecting her foster baby and a second time for “environmental neglect and injurious atmosphere” for her eldest son. Each studies had been discovered to be unfounded and expunged.
Two days after his delivery, a hotline report was referred to as on Cunningham. Each Cunningham and AJ examined constructive for opiates and benzodiazepines. AJ was faraway from her care, and DCFS took custody of the toddler.
AJ was returned to the couple eight months later after each mother and father took parenting lessons and entered a drug therapy program. Authorities have described canine feces and urine all through the household dwelling, with damaged home windows and a powerful scent of feces the place AJ and his youthful brother slept.
His closing days
Freund Sr. advised a 911 dispatcher that he put AJ to mattress on April 17 and by the following morning he was gone.
“I acquired again from the physician’s appointment and I checked in on him to say good morning and he wasn’t there,” Freund advised 911. However police say AJ’s mother and father compelled him “to stay in a chilly bathe for an prolonged time frame and/or struck” AJ, in keeping with a felony criticism filed Thursday.
A pathologist discovered he died from head trauma because of blunt drive accidents, in keeping with a coroner’s report.
Defending susceptible youngsters
AJ’s youthful sibling was within the dwelling till this week, however is now residing with one other household, DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch mentioned.
DCFS mentioned it was reviewing its dealing with of instances involving AJ’s household. A caseworker and supervisor have been positioned on administrative responsibility with no casework duties throughout the evaluate. The company mentioned it can additionally evaluate all instances dealt with by the 2 staff.
“As we transfer ahead, we might be absolutely clear with the general public as we search to handle any attainable shortcomings on this incident and perceive how we are able to higher serve the state’s susceptible youngsters and households,” DCFS mentioned within the abstract launched Friday.
“Defending susceptible youngsters who come to our consideration is on the core of our mission at DCFS,” performing director of DCFS Marc Smith mentioned. “All of us really feel this loss. Our precedence is the care and security of Andrew’s youthful sibling.”
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Eric Levenson, Religion Karimi and Holly Yan contributed to this report.