Statement from County Board Chairman Jack Franks regarding the death of Andrew “AJ” Freund
The following is a statement from County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, regarding the death of Andrew Freund:
“There are no words to convey the heartache McHenry County feels over the death of 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund.
In the week since his disappearance from his Crystal Lake home, little AJ belonged to all of us. The men and women of law enforcement searched for him like he was their own. We all prayed he would be found safe, and held out hope despite a constant and dismaying stream of police reports and news stories detailing the squalid conditions in which he lived. Our hopes were dashed today with the discovery of his body south of Woodstock.
Words also cannot convey the anger we feel that AJ’s own parents stand accused of killing him, and it is my hope that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that AJ’s siblings are placed in safe and loving homes.
The Department of Children and Family Services had a long history of contact with the family throughout AJ’s short life – he spent his first 20 months in foster care after he was born with opiates in his system. Although it is too early to jump to conclusions, it must be asked whether opportunities to prevent this tragedy were missed. We owe it to AJ, and to every other at-risk child, to review the Illinois child welfare system to ensure that no child ever falls through the safety net.
I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the men and women of the Crystal Lake Police Department, the Crystal Lake Fire Department, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the FBI, and every other law enforcement agency who tirelessly searched for little AJ, as well as the people of Crystal Lake and McHenry County for their outpouring of support and prayers.”