A friend of murder defendant JoAnn Cunningham claimed to have urged this suspect and Andrew Freund Sr. to call 911 about their missing son Andrew “AJ” Freund Sr., according to The Chicago Tribune. They waited around a half-hour to do it, she said. Little did this friend realize that cops would soon allege that the parents already knew their son’s whereabouts. They had buried him in a shallow grave in Woodstock, Illinois, authorities said.
Police released audio of the 911 call by Freund Sr. He claimed they couldn’t find the 5-year-old boy. Authorities said that was a lie. Cunningham’s friend said that she tried to help find AJ after being told that he was missing.
A police affidavit described her as a “very close friend,” but she disputed that characterization. She said they “were not close,” but knew each other for about two or three years, and communicated usually through text. The woman said that although she had absolutely nothing to do with AJ’s disappearance and murder, she and her family have been getting harassed–even receiving death threats–after the affidavit appeared online featuring her name.
She said she would have done a lot more if she knew then what she knows now.
“Leave me alone, realize I am not part of this,” she said.
The woman said that she immediately went to Cunningham’s home after the mother told her that AJ was missing. This was on April 18. Cops said AJ was murdered on April 15. The woman said searched the home and local stores for AJ. She also said that she voluntarily gave her phone to cops.
According to an affidavit, records showed that Cunningham texted her about AJ on the 16th. The suspect complained about him not improving “from what she had previously self-diagnosed or likened to oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).”
AJ’s parents allegedly forced him into a cold shower and beat him, causing his death. They’d been on the radar of police and state child services for years over alleged abuse and neglect. The woman said she saw that the home was cluttered, but not as terribly as in recent allegations. She claimed not to have seen any bruises on AJ or his little brother, but saw scars on the victim’s face a year ago.
Cunningham said this was due to AJ getting boiling water on himself, the friend said.
[Image via Crystal Lake Police Department]