An Illinois couple charged with killing their 5-year-old son have agreed to give up custody of their younger son, according to reports.
JoAnn Cunningham, 36, and Andrew Freund Sr., 60, agreed Monday to allow the state’s Department of Children and Family Services to care for their 4-year-old son. The boy was removed from the couple’s home after his older brother, Andrew “AJ” Freund, was reported missing days after Cunningham and Freund allegedly killed the child, the Northwest Herald reports.
Details about the 4-year-old boy’s living conditions were not disclosed in a McHenry County juvenile courtroom, but Freund must complete a paternity test to confirm he’s the child’s biological father.
Prosecutors also filed a motion seeking to terminate the couple’s parental rights. If the attorney and former hairdresser are ultimately found unfit, their 4-year-old son may be moved to another home or be placed for adoption, a staffer for the child welfare agency said.
Cunningham and Freund are currently not allowed to have contact with the boy — or each other — and a process to place the 4-year-old boy elsewhere could take several months, according to the newspaper.
The couple remained held on $5 million bond each after their arrest Wednesday, following the discovery of AJ’s plastic-wrapped body in a shallow grave near Woodstock, about seven miles away from the family’s home, the Chicago Tribune reports.
An autopsy later revealed that AJ died from head trauma from multiple blunt-force injuries.
Just four months prior to his death, the boy had a large bruise on his hip when he visited the doctor in December. Both he and Cunningham claimed the family’s dog, Lucy, caused the injury after jumping on him, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Maybe someone hit me with a belt,” the boy told a doctor. “Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”
Cunningham told a judge during Monday’s hearing that she had no bank accounts and that her home was facing foreclosure. She will be represented by a public defender during both the criminal and juvenile proceedings, the Northwest Herald reports.
Freund, meanwhile, wants to hire an attorney for the criminal case and will have a public defender represent him in juvenile court. Both parents are facing charges of murder, aggravated battery and other charges.
A public visitation for AJ will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Crystal Lake, according to the Tribune.