Several weeks before Andrew “AJ” Freund‘s parents reported their five-year-old missing, his mother Joann Cunningham allegedly filmed a video showing the boy badly abused.

According to court documents, in the video, a voice that appears to be Cunningham can be heard berating AJ for urinating on his bed. AJ can also be seen lying naked on his bed with small bandages on his wrist and his hip.

AJ appeared to be holding an ice pack to his face and when he removes it he is seen having deep bruises around his eyes, neck, and upper chest.


A few days after his parent reported him missing, his father, Andrew Freund Sr., was confronted with the video and showed police where he allegedly buried his son.

The parents say they last saw their son in his bed on April 17, and they reported him missing next morning. It was through a forensic analysis of Cunningham’s phone that the video was discovered, and how the body was ultimately found.

According to prosecutors, Cunningham and Freund forced their son to take cold showers for an extended period of time and that they beat him before he died. His autopsy results show he died of multiple blunt force injuries to the head.

The Freund family has been visited by the Department of Child and Family services at least 17 times. Four months before his death, A.J. told an investigator from the DCFS that the bruise above his hip was from a dog pawing him.

Yet, when he went to the ER, he told the doctor, “Maybe someone hit me with a belt, mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”

Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the bruise and the case was dropped for lack of evidence. The next time authorities were called to the residence, the boy was missing.

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