CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (CBS)– Crews tore down the infamous house in Crystal Lake where 5-year-old AJ Freund was killed last April.
His parents were charged in his murder and appeared in court Thursday.READ MORE: Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman Found Fit To Stand Trial
A judge gave Crystal Lake permission to tear down the house back in November.
The house sat on Dole Avenue. Neighbors have wanted the house removed since AJ’s parents were accused of his murder 10 months ago. Neighbors said it brings back painful memories and that tearing it down is one step toward change.
“I drive past it every single day coming to the cafe. Whether it’s boarded up or there’s flowers, it’s painful,” Café Olympic owner Rachel Mucci said. “It stays with us forever, but I do feel that the house being gone is a step in the right direction to change. To change something that was broken.”
Prosecutors said AJ’s parents beat him and forced him into a cold shower in the house.
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But there were signs of abuse before his death. Records show Crystal Lake police were called to the house at least 10 times.
Police reports also detail deplorable conditions inside the house, including broken windows in the winter and feces from the family’s dog.
Still, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services kept A.J. with his parents. His death has continued to generate calls for change within the agency.
Crystal Lake resident Priscilla Harper said tearing down the house shouldn’t just be about closure.MORE NEWS: 71-Year-Old Man Shot Multiple Times, Killed While Heading To Store To Buy Newspaper In Chinatown
“We can’t go back and do anything for AJ, but we can certainly sacrifice our time and our resources and do more for other children in the future,” Harper said.