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On Night Boy Died, a Telling Internet Search

Police say AJ Freund's mother looked up how to perform CPR on a child
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2019 10:52 AM CDT
JoAnn Cunningham, left, and Andrew Freund Sr.   (McHenry County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Police say it was a deleted video, recovered from the cellphone of Andrew "AJ" Freund's mother, that prompted the boy's father to confess, reports CNN. The March video, shown to Andrew Freund Sr. before he led Illinois police to the 5-year-old's body, showed AJ being berated for wetting the bed as he stood naked and bandaged, "holding an ice pack to his face" with "deep red bruising around his eyes," according to court documents. It was then that Freund told investigators he'd persuaded AJ's mother, JoAnn Cunningham—who reportedly viewed her son as having an "oppositional defiance disorder"—"to stop with the hard physical beatings and do some less violent form of punishment," according to the documents. They decided on cold showers.

Freund allegedly said AJ died after going to bed wet and naked following 20 minutes in a such a shower—punishment for soiling his clothes, per ABC News. Afterward, Freund described hiding AJ's body in a tote in the basement of the family's Crystal Lake home, then burying it in a vacant lot 10 miles away, according to the documents. Freund also granted police access to his cellphone, which showed a search for child CPR at 3:17am on the night AJ is believed to have died. Authorities believe Cunningham performed the search. In addition to the deleted video, her own cellphone revealed a shopping list for duct tape, air freshener, and gloves, according to the documents. Cunningham, 35, and Freund Sr., 60, are each charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, and other crimes. They have yet to enter pleas. (Read more murder stories.)

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