CHICAGO (CBS) — Crystal Lake police on Thursday said people have been calling police to ask where to donate money to the brother of A.J. Freund, the Crystal Lake boy who died last week after being beaten by his parents.
Police warned the public to be weary of scams asking for donations in the wake of A.J.’s death.
A Facebook post on the Crystal Lake Police Department’s page that appeared this week reads, “Please research anyone accepting financial donations to ensure their intentions are legitimate before donating.”
On social media and all over town, people expressed their grief over A.J.’s heartbreaking death. Thousands of stuffed animals and balloons and other items were left in the front yard of the Dole Avenue home where A.J.’s mother and father, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund, are accused of fatally beating him before dumping his body in a rural McHenry County field last week.
As the parents face murder charges in their son’s death, questions have lingered about the futures of A.J.’s 4-year-old brother and Cunningham’s unborn child.
Johnsburg resident Kim Clauson started a GoFundMe page to help pay for A.J.’s funeral expenses. She wrote on the donation page that the rest of the money would support the brother and his unborn sibling.
Donations raised as of Friday afternoon had reached $14,055–surpassing the original goal to raise $2,500.
Clauson said she’s connected to A.J. through his grandmother and her son, who she said is friends with A.J.’s 18-year-old brother.
“I have known his grandmother through school and wrestling for the past several years,” Clauson wrote in A.J.’s GoFundMe story. “We are personally involved and ALL funds will go to A.J.’s brother and/or grandmother to be put towards A.J.’s burial with excess funds also being given to them for a fund for [his brother].”