This is JoAnn Cunningham, who you may remember as the mother of sweet, precious five-year-old AJ Freund, who was the subject of my first story and who tragically lost his life thanks to his evil parents.
Well, if you’re looking for some great (?) news to start your day, look no further! JoAnn, who was pregnant at the time of AJ’s death, has given birth to a baby girl while behind bars at the McHenry (Illinois) County jail.
JoAnn has agreed to allow the baby girl to be kept in DCFS custody. AJ’s little brother is also in the care of DCFS, and, according to his court-appointed guardian, Jeanne A. Barrett, “he’s doing wonderfully.” The little boy’s current living situation has not been made public; Barrett explained, “A huge concern in this case is his privacy.” Paternity testing is pending to determine if AJ’s father, Andrew “Drew” Freund Sr., is also the little boy’s father. A court date for this matter is set for June 24th.
Authorities are trying to terminate JoAnn and Andrew’s parental rights to their young son, so keep your fingers crossed.
On a positive note, the Crystal Lake Lions Club has raised more than $53,000 to date for AJ’s siblings, which include his 18-year-old brother, Austin Butler; his four-year-old brother; and his newborn baby sister. Crystal Lake Lions Club President Randy Funk told the Northwest Herald that the organization plans to put the donated funds into a trust for AJ’s three siblings. The club is still accepting donations; if you’re interested in donating, you can bring cash or check to any Crystal Lake Bank & Trust location; donate online; or send a check with “AJ” in the memo line to:
Crystal Lake Lions Club
PO Box 48
Crystal Lake, IL 60039-0048
And just because I can’t end this post without breaking your heart yet again, AJ’s older brother, Austin Butler, made the following public post on his Facebook page on May 5th.
No one should have to go through what Austin and his youngest brother have gone through, and I wish them, as well as their baby sister, all the success, peace, and happiness the future can possibly bring them.
Click here for more of my coverage on AJ’s case.