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Father's 911 call released as search continues for missing Illinois boy

Search for missing boy

A father told a dispatcher he frantically hunted in his house, garage and neighborhood in suburban Chicago, looking for his son who wasn't home when he returned from a doctor's appointment, according to a recording of a 911 call released Tuesday.

"We, uh, we have a missing child," Andrew Freund Sr. said about his 5-year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund, in the 911 call last Thursday morning.

Freund told the dispatcher AJ was put to bed around 9:30 the night before and said he discovered him missing when he went into his room to check in on him the next morning sometime between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m., according to CBS Chicago. Freund placed the call shortly after 9 a.m., according to the station.

"We've checked closets, the basement, the garage, everywhere," Freund told the dispatcher, adding that he had scoured the park and a "local gas station down here where we sometimes take him to buy treats."

"I spoke with the assistant principal over there at the school," Freund said. "They haven't seen him or any other child. I have no idea where he would be."

Police were still searching for AJ in a park in the heavily wooded Chicago suburb on Tuesday. The said they planned to use sonar to search local ponds, and that an Illinois State Police plane would search the area to guide officers searching the ground in the community about 50 miles northwest of Chicago.

The department also said detectives were asking neighbors to hand over home surveillance video in hopes they might provide clues about the boy's location.

The department did not say anything further about detectives' belief that the boy had not wandered and was not abducted. It also did not say anything about the boy's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, who they have said is refusing to cooperate with detectives.

According to media reports, Cunningham was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday hoping to regain custody of her younger son who was taken into Illinois Department of Children and Family Services custody after AJ disappeared.

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JoAnn Cunningham with her attorney, George Killi,s outside of the Freund home as he speaks on her behalf, Friday, April 19, 2019 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune via AP

The Northwest Herald reported Tuesday that the day the boy disappeared, Cunningham was arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant just after she and Andrew Freund Sr. went to Crystal Park Police Department to speak with investigators about their son. The paper said she was also scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on the traffic case.

"[Cunningham] is a valuable resource because she was the last to see Andrew," Crystal Lake Deputy Chief Tom Kotlowski said, adding that the boy's father has spoken to detectives. The elder Andrew Freund spent at least three hours at the Crystal Lake Police Department on Saturday, CBS Chicago reported.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it has had previous contact with the family, stemming in part from the fact that the boy was born with opiates in his system. DCFS said the boy spent nearly two years in foster care before he was returned to his parents. DCFS had contact twice with the family in 2018 but deemed allegations of neglect and abuse unfounded.

Cunningham's attorney George Kililis told reporters late last week Cunningham had been cooperative "until at some point we got the impression that she may be considered a suspect."

"She doesn't know what happened to A.J. and had nothing to do with the disappearance of A.J.," Kililis said, according to CBS Chicago. "She's worried sick."