WARNING: Details in this story may be disturbing for some readers.
The parents of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund forced the young boy to stand in a cold shower and beat him three days before the child was reported missing to police, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
The complaint alleges that on April 15, AJ's parents forced him "to remain in a cold shower for an extended period of time and/or struck [AJ] on or about his body, knowing that said acts would cause the death of [AJ], thereby causing the death."
U.S. & World
Read the full complaints below
According to the McHenry County Coroner's office, the body found in the makeshift grave in unincorporated Woodstock was identified as AJ and the cause of death was listed as "craniocerebral trauma as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries."
The incidents took place two days before the couple told police they last saw their child while putting him to bed on April 17. The next morning they reported him missing.
The parents were each ordered held on $5 million bonds Thursday, one day after they were both charged in AJ's death and disappearance.
Joann Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr. faced a judge for the first time since authorities said they found what they believed to be AJ's body on Wednesday.
Cunningham cried as the judge read the charges against her while Freund Sr. sat silent.
Cunningham was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.
Freund Sr. was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery, two counts of concealment of homicidal death and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.
Crystal Lake police said Wednesday that investigators located a body wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock, just miles from the Crystal Lake home where the boy was reported missing six days earlier.
That same day marked one week since AJ's parents said they last saw the child, putting him to bed at around 9:30 p.m. at their Crystal Lake home.
The following morning, Freund Sr. called police to report that his son was not in the house and that they had canvassed the neighborhood, went to a local park, checked an area gas station and called his school - but AJ was nowhere to be found, according to the 911 call released Tuesday.
"We have a missing child," the father told dispatchers at the beginning of the 911 call Thursday morning, later saying they had checked "closets, the basement, the garage, everywhere" in the house to no avail.
Police said both parents were questioned overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning after information was obtained during a "forensic analysis of cell phone data."
"Once presented with the evidence obtained by investigators, both Joann and Andrew Sr. provided information that ultimately led to the recovery, what we believe is the recovery of deceased subject AJ," Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black.
Law enforcement and first responders descended on a large wooded area in Woodstock Wednesday morning. At the same time, police were seen searching the family's home on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake.
Moments later, evidence technicians brought items from an evidence van into the Crystal Lake police station. Those items included a mattress, a large bin, two large brown bags, and an item that appeared to be a shovel with a long wooden handle.
Police scoured the area surrounding the family's home for days after the boy's disappearance, searching hundreds of acres of land and water before centering their investigation on the house, saying they found no evidence of an abduction.
"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," Black said Wednesday. "We would also like to thank the community for their support and assistance during this difficult time. To AJ, we know you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer."
Both parents appeared Tuesday in McHenry County Circuit Court for a custody hearing related to their other son, who was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services the day AJ was reported missing.
The hearing was continued, with the next hearing set for Monday at 9 a.m. CST.