DCSF removes 2 employees from AJ Freund case


The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services removes two workers who oversaw a case involving Andrew “AJ” Freund — the 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy who officials say was beaten and killed by his parents — from casework.

The caseworker and supervisor responsible for AJ’s case have been transferred to administrative duty with no work on family cases while officials with Illinois’ child-welfare agency review cases involving child abuse or neglect, WGN reports.

A caseworker visited the home of AJ in December and attributed bruising found on the boy’s body from the family dog. The case was in January despite a note in his file indicating a “doctor was concerned because Andrew said, ‘Maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”

Anne Gold, DCFS associate deputy for child protection, acknowledged under questioning that a child-abuse expert should have been consulted. 

“That piece was missed,” Gold said. 

AJ’s parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr., have been charged for the murder of AJ Freund and other crimes. Prosecutors say they forced the boy to stand in a cold shower and beat him to death. AJ’s body was found wrapped in plastic Wednesday in a shallow grave in suburban Chicago. 

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