It may not bring closure to the case, because that will only come when both of AJ’s parents are sentenced for their roles in his murder, but at the very least, this is a step in the right direction.
On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the house at 94 Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where 5-year-old AJ Freund died of blunt force trauma in April of 2019, was razed, reduced to a pile of rubble where the dilapidated structure used to stand.
Neighbors and community members lined the street to watch the house of horrors come down and to honor 5-year-old AJ’s memory. Many held up their cell phones to record the demolition.
“Evil went on there,” said local man Randy Funk. “You don’t want that. It needs a new beginning.”
The house was torn down with all of the family’s belongings still inside. It has stood unoccupied since Drew and JoAnn were arrested and charged in AJ’s death only days after they reported him missing eleven months ago.
AJ’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, plead guilty to his murder in December and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30. His father, Drew Freund, awaits the bench trial he requested last week, although the date has not yet been set.
Another local, Priscilla Harper, told a reporter at the scene of the demolition, “We can’t go back and do anything for AJ, but we can certainly sacrifice our time and resources and do more for other children in the future.”
Click here for my ongoing coverage of AJ’s case. I also told AJ’s story in the first episode of the Suffer the Little Children podcast. You can subscribe to Suffer the Little Children on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or your favorite podcast listening platform. Visit the podcast’s web page at sufferthelittlechildrenpod.com.
Sources: Northwest Herald, The Daily Herald, CBS Chicago