Plea deal: Andrew Freund Sr. gets 30-year sentence in death of 5-year-old son

Plea deal: Andrew Freund Sr. gets 30-year sentence in death of 5-year-old son
Andrew Freund Sr. took a plea deal and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the death of his 5-year-old son in April 2019. (Matthew Apgar/Northwest Herald via AP, Pool)

WOODSTOCK, Ill. — An Illinois man who pleaded guilty to charges in connection to the death of his 5-year-old son was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Friday.

Andrew Freund Sr., 61, of Crystal Lake, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a child, involuntary manslaughter and concealment of a homicidal death, the Chicago Tribune reported. Freund was sentenced to 14 years for involuntary manslaughter, 11 years for aggravated battery, and five years for concealment of a homicide, WBBM reported. All of the sentences will be served consecutively, and he will be given credit for time served, the television station reported.

Freund has been jailed since April 26, 2019, in connection to the death of A.J. Freund, whose body was found in a shallow grave near the family’s home, WMAQ reported. The boy was found earlier that month, days after his parents reported him missing.

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As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped the more serious charges of murder, WBBM reported.

Freund Sr. appeared in McHenry County court and wore a white face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus, the Tribune reported. He declined to speak when given the opportunity during his hearing, the newspaper reported.

The child’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, 37, pleaded guilty in December to first-degree murder and was sentenced in August to 35 years in prison, WMAQ reported.

After the couple’s arrest, authorities said Freund Sr. admitted his son died in the early hours of April 15, 2019, and that he kept his body in a plastic tote for about two days in the basement of their home, The Herald-News of Joliet reported. Police said Freund Sr. buried his son in a shallow grave in Woodstock, Illinois, and then made a 911 call on the morning of April 18, 2019, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors said Freund and Cunningham forced their son into a cold shower and beat him before putting him to bed naked, wet and cold the night of his death, the Tribune reported.

Last week, a former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker and his supervisor, who both worked on the A.J. Freund case and are accused of not protecting the child, were arrested on child endangerment charges, WBBM reported. Carlos Acosta, 54, of Woodstock, and Andrew Polovin, 48, of Island Lake, were charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one count of reckless conduct, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s office.

Polovin pleaded not guilty on Thursday, the television station reported. Acosta is scheduled for arraignment next week.

Charging documents allege that Polovin and Acosta “knowingly caused or permitted (AJ) … to be placed in circumstances that endangered AJ’s life or health," WMAQ reported.