CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WGN) -- Two former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees who investigated abuse allegations involving 5-year-old A.J. Freund have been charged with child endangerment.
Carlos Acosta, 54, an elected McHenry County board member from Woodstock, and his former supervisor, Andrew Polovin, 48, of Island Lake, were arrested Thursday on two counts each of endangering the life of a child and one count of reckless conduct, the McHenry County sheriff’s office announced.
The Chicago Tribune reports both men left the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in December 2019 after an internal disciplinary process. DCFS officials have declined to say whether they were fired or voluntarily quit.
Acosta was the child protection specialist assigned to investigate a Dec. 18, 2018 hotline call from Crystal Lake Police regarding a bruise on A.J.’s right hip, the Tribune reports. Acosta deemed the allegation of abuse unfounded about two weeks later after consulting Polovin, who also was the supervisor in two earlier hotline investigations involving A.J., records show.
Acosta and Polovin also are named in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the slain boy’s estate, which represents his three siblings, the Tribune reports.
TRUE CRIME DAILY: Andrew "A.J." Freund case coverage - TCD
A.J. died in April 2019 after being tortured and beaten by his parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and Joann Cunningham, who told police he was missing.
Investigators found a picture of a shopping list that was taken on April 17, the day before A.J. was reported missing. Included on the list were duct tape, plastic gloves, air freshener and bleach.
Andrew Freund Sr. told police "He took A.J.'s body to the basement and stored him in a tote. He said on 4/17/19 he placed A.J. inside several trash bags, placed the body in the trunk of his car and drove him in an area in Woodstock." Freund Sr. allegedly dug a shallow grave and placed the child in it and covered it with straw and left.
A.J. was found wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave on April 24, 2019. An autopsy determined the cause of death was craniocerebral trauma as a consequence of multiple blunt force injuries.
Freund Sr. and Cunningham were charged with first-degree murder in his beating death. McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Robert Wilbrandt sentenced JoAnn Cunningham on July 17 to 35 years in prison without possibility of parole. Andrew Freund Sr., 60, is awaiting trial.
Cunningham gave birth to a baby girl while incarcerated last summer.