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Community mourns the loss of AJ Freund on his 6th birthday

Community mourns the loss of AJ Freund on his 6th birthday. (WICS)
Community mourns the loss of AJ Freund on his 6th birthday. (WICS)
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He lived for five years, but AJ Freund is a name people in Crystal Lake, Illinois will remember for much longer.

Monday, October 14th was AJ's birthday.

As his parents sit in jail, charged with killing him, DCFS still faces heat for how it handled his case.

October 14th is a day that AJ Freund will never get to celebrate again - he would've been six-years-old this year.

"It was quite a shock to see it happen next door," said neighbor of the family, Agustine Flaherty.

Inside of AJ's family's home - a house of horror.

Blankets and sheets were found moldy and soiled, feces was found on the floor beside a mattress and the ceiling looked as if it was about to cave in.

Police say the house is where AJ was beaten to death in April, at the hands of his father Andrew Freund and his mom Joanne Cunningham.

Flaherty lives just across the street.

"I never saw her. I saw him with the two children...Once in a buggy, but that's the only time I saw them," said Flaherty. "It was kind of strange."

Every neighbor we spoke to said the same.

"There's not much you can do, other than support what's left... and what is left? There's two people in jail that should stay there," said Flaherty.

Alicia Wehby, with foster kids of her own, started a non-profit called "Second Bridge."

A total of 4,000 care bags were donated so far, stuffed with goods children need when they're placed in a home.

"When he was found, we were pretty honest with our what had happened. They were upset. It was a way for us to heal...what we realized was the whole community was looking for a way to heal," said Wehby.

In the name of AJ Freund, a face and a name that Wehby hopes will touch others.

"It's helped the community come out and realize that there are kids in our own backyard that need help," said Wehby.

Several groups are planning to host marches on Monday night in honor of AJ at the McHenry County Courthouse.

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In honor of AJ’s birthday, if you would like to donate items to the McHenry County Child Advocacy Center, click here.

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