Andrew Freund is a five-year-old boy from Crystal Lake, Illinois who was reported missing on Thursday, April 19. His body was found by police on Wednesday, April 24, in a rural area miles from his home, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Per The Chicago Tribune, Freund, who went by “AJ”, was last seen around bedtime on April 18. His parents claim that they couldn’t find him after they woke up on Thursday. However, police also say that they don’t believe Freund left his residence on foot.
There are conflicting reports regarding Freund’s parents. Some publications simply reference his “parents” as the ones who found his empty bed on Thursday, and other publications say Freund’s mother and her boyfriend found the empty bed. In the early stages of a breaking news event, it’s normal for there to be differing and even conflicting pieces of information.
Police have confirmed that they are “focusing on the residence” of Freund, in their investigation into his disappearance. What’s more, neighbors have told ABC7 Chicago that they’ve called the authorities in the past to request welfare checks on the children, after hearing yelling and loud fights inside the Freund house.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Asked for the Public’s Help in Locating Freund
Amid the strange circumstances surrounding this case, police asked for the public’s help in finding Freund. Per The Chicago Tribune, Freund has blond hair, is 3 foot five inches tall weighs around 70 pounds, and was wearing black sweatpants and a Mario sweatshirt at the time of his disappearance.
Anyone with information is invited to call the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620. You can also send an anonymous tip to the department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411).
2. An Amber Alert Was Not Issued Because There Was No Proof of Abduction
Following an initial investigation into the disappearance on Thursday, police released a news release that read in part, per CBS Chicago, “several police search and rescue canine units, trained specifically to locate people, were utilized in an attempt to locate Andrew. The canine teams only picked up Andrew’s scent within the residence indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot.”
The release continued, “In reviewing all investigative information thus far, there is no indication that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place.”
CBS Chicago that police also used bloodhounds to search Freund’s parents car, as well as nearby trash cans.
3. Police Used a Sonar-Equipped Boat to Search the Nearby Lake
After an Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System mutual aid request was activated on Thursday, over 15 police agencies responded to assist in the search. The search included canine teams, drones, and a sonar-equipped boat that has searched the entirety of Crystal Lake.
Per The Chicago Tribune, about 373 acres were covered on foot, and about 497 acres were covered through an aerial drone search. The FBI has since gotten involved; though police have taken boxes and bags of potential evidence from Freund’s home, police have not shared information on any possible leads.
4. The Freunds Also Have Another Younger Son
The Freunds, who have not yet been identified by name, have another son, who is three years old. The identity of their son, just like the Freunds’ own identities, has been withheld for now.
Little is known about the Freund family, as of now. However, a neighbor described them to The Chicago Tribune as “typical middle class,” and said he had seen them going on walks around the neighborhood.
Another neighbor said to the publication, “They really keep to themselves.”
5. Neighbors Have Spoken Out About the Freund Family
Neighbors have begun to speak to publications about how shocking the disappearance of Freund is. According to CBS Chicago, some neighbors stated that Freund’s parents were not at the house for the majority of Thursday, and left their house early in the morning with police on Friday morning.
A number of neighbors spoke to The Chicago Tribune about Freund’s apparent and sudden disappearance. Quirine Dahlquist, a neighbor who lives around the corner from the Freunds, said, “I’m freaking out for the family and I don’t even know them.”
Another neighbor, Bob Atkinson, said, “It’s upsetting, especially you think it’s not gonna happen in my backyard and it did.”
Other neighbors, who chose to remain anonymous, told ABC7 Chicago that police have visited the Freund house a handful of times a month, and that they could often hear yelling inside the home. Some neighbors even told the news network that they’ve called the authorities to request welfare checks on the children.