Illinois police reveal new details in 5-year-old boy's disappearance
Authorities investigating the disappearance of a missing 5-year-old boy in Illinois say they're focusing on the child's home after determining he most likely was not abducted and did not wander away from the residence.
Andrew "A.J." Freund, of Crystal Lake, was reported missing by his parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund, on the morning of April 18. The pair said they had last seen their son around 9 p.m. the night before, the Crystal Lake Police Department said in a statement.
Approximately 373 acres were scoured during a foot search by 15 responding police agencies and canine units, with approximately 497 acres covered via aerial search by four drones. A sonar team was also deployed to scan areas of nearby Crystal Lake.
While no signs of A.J. were discovered during the manhunt, police said K-9 teams did pick up the boy's scent in the trunk of his parents' car, CBS News reports.
"In reviewing all information, there is no indication currently that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place at this time," police said in a Monday statement. "Information obtained continues to have police focusing on the residence and the individuals that may have seen or had contact with “AJ” last."
Police added that the boy’s mother continues to be uncooperative in the ongoing investigation.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) said it has "been involved" with the family since A.J.'s birth, department spokesman Jassen Strokosch told CNN. Strokosch said that the child "was brought into care with us" when "neglect was indicated on part of the mom."
A.J. remained "in care with someone else" from 2013 through 2015, when he was returned to his parents. Strokosch said that the DCFS was called to the family's home twice in 2018 on allegations of neglect in March and of abuse and neglect in December, although both sets of accusations were determined to be unfounded.
George C. Kililis, the defense lawyer for A.J.'s mother, said during a press conference that his client "doesn't know what happened to AJ and has nothing to do with the disappearance of AJ."
"Ms. Cunningham is worried sick, she's devastated," Kililis added.
There have been no arrests made in the case. The investigation is ongoing.