Two former Illinois child welfare employees charged with child endangerment in relation to AJ Freund's death

The remains of five-year-old Freund were found in a shallow grave in April 2019 in Woodstock, Illinois, about 10 miles from their home in Crystal Lake and it was wrapped in plastic


                            Two former Illinois child welfare employees charged with child endangerment in relation to AJ Freund's death
Carlos Acosta and Andrew Polovin (McHenry County Sheriff's Office)

CRYSTAL LAKE, ILLINOIS: Carlos Acosta, 54, and Andrew Polovin, 48, the two former employees of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, were taken into custody on Thursday, September 10, evening on charges of child endangerment. Acosta and Polovin had overseen the case of Andrew "AJ" Freund, the five-year-old boy who was found dead in April 2019. His parents, Andrew Freund Sr and JoAnn Cunningham, were charged with the murder of the child.

According to court records, Acosta and Polovin were charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one felony count of reckless conduct, and the two of their conducts, while they oversaw Freund's case, were "proximate cause of AJ Freund's death". Not much else regarding the investigation was released in the press release and it is also unclear if the two of them have lawyers defending them. However, according to records in the county office, both men posted a $20,000 bond later the same night. The sheriff's office did not have much else to add to the information regarding the investigation.

A small memorial that sits outside the home of five-year-old Andrew 'AJ' Freund on April 24, 2019, in Crystal Lake, Illinois (Getty Images)

The Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) had reported various encounters with Freund's family which included 17 unannounced visits between June 2015 and March 2016. But, the DCFS workers reportedly hadn't noticed any sign of abuse or neglect. However, in the annual report released by the Illinois Office of the Inspector General, it was reported that the DCFS workers had ignored, "the parents' long history of addiction, the mother's recent relapse, and the parents' isolation of the children from caring relatives and daycare providers". Currently, neither of them are employed by the DCFS, however, Acosta is a member of the McHenry County Board.

Board Chairman Jack Franks released a statement on Friday, September 11, and said, "The overwhelming sentiment would be for him to step down." He added, "With the charges filed against him, Mr Acosta cannot continue to be an effective member of the County Board. We spoke this morning and I encouraged him to resign. My opinion is not based on his innocence or guilt, which is up to the court to decide, but his ability to represent the citizens of County Board District 5 with these charges being filed."

JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew 'Drew' Freund Sr (Crystal Lake Police Department)

The remains of five-year-old Fruend were found in a shallow grave in April 2019 in Woodstock, Illinois, about 10 miles from their home in Crystal Lake and it was wrapped in plastic. The cops had found the location of the child after investigating his parents who had initially filed a missing person report.

While filing the report, Andrew Freund Sr had claimed that he had last put his son to sleep in his bed the night before, however, he couldn't find him the next day morning before school. The cause of death was later reported as blunt force trauma to the head. Further investigations revealed the parents' involvement in Freund's death. Freund's mother Cunningham confessed to being guilty in December and was sentenced to 35 years in jail in July. The father, on the other hand, is awaiting trial on the case. According to court records, a status hearing in his case is scheduled for September 16.

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.