CHICAGO (CBS) — Police in northwest suburban Crystal Lake are preparing for large crowds expected at a public visitation for A.J. Freund on Friday.
Freund’s memorial service will be held from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Davenport Family Funeral Home at 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave. in Crystal Lake.
Police said heavy traffic was expected throughout the day near the funeral home, and suggested anyone not attending the services avoid the area Friday afternoon and evening.
“The Crystal Lake Police Department anticipates a large public turnout to celebrate the life of A.J. Crystal Lake officers will be on location during the visitation to assist with the large volume of traffic expected in order to ensure the safety of those planning on attending the services and those traveling through the area,” a statement from police said.
Police urged motorists to avoid the area if they’re not planning to attend the service.
At the funeral home people from near and far will file past A.J.’s closed casket, and they’ll see images that show a 5-year-old boy who appeared happy.
“We have a picture board that conveys that and just shows him as a normal little boy, just smiley, laughing and playing,” said funeral director Kim Nordin. “It’s heartbreaking.”
The funeral home is preparing for the enormous turnout.
Nearby businesses will open their parking lots.
The flower shop next door is donating hundreds of blue bows to give out to mourners.
Two community members are fashioning hundreds of pins for mourners.
And others are asking what they can do.
“It’s just been an overwhelming response from the community,” said Jack Davenport, an owner of the funeral home. “People have called from all over the country. They just want to help.”
“My son asked me, ‘Why did his mommy and daddy hurt him?'” said Michael Hartsell.
Many, like him, don’t have an answer.
A GoFundMe page for A.J. had raised nearly $59,000 to cover his funeral expenses, but the funeral home is now covering the costs. Kim Clauson, a family friend who started the GoFundMe, now says the money raised will be given to A.J.’s siblings.
A.J.’s parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund, have been charged with his murder and are both being held on $5 million bond at the McHenry County Jail.
Other family members, including A.J.’s grandmother want it known that he had other family.
“He does have a family that loves him,” Nordin said. “Just like any family would love him. People wonder why they didn’t do anything, but they tried. But they could only do so much.”
Comfort dogs will be at A.J.’s visitation to greet mourners waiting in line inside and outside the funeral home.