Police ‘focusing on residence’ of 5-year-old Andrew Freund of Crystal Lake, who has been reported missing – Chicago Tribune
The whereabouts of a 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy remained unknown Friday, a day after he was reported missing, but police said late Friday morning that their investigation was focusing on his home.
The boy, Andrew “AJ” Freund, was last seen at bedtime, about 9 p.m., on Wednesday in the family home in the first block of Dole Avenue. After waking up Thursday morning and being unable to find him in the home, Andrew’s parents reported the boy missing, police said.
In a news release Friday morning, police said, “Information obtained currently has police focusing on the residence.”
The news release said that “several police search and rescue canine units, trained specifically to locate people, were utilized in an attempt to locate Andrew. The canine teams only picked up Andrew’s scent within the residence indicating that Andrew had not walked away on foot.”
The release also says, “In reviewing all investigative information thus far, there is no indication that would lead police to believe that an abduction had taken place.”
Investigators continued “to actively investigate this case and continue to review all tips or leads sent to the police department,” the release said. The police department said it has no reason to believe there is a threat to the community.
Friday’s news release said Crystal Lake police detectives were working collaboratively with members of the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Police Thursday activated an Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System mutual aid request, and 15 police agencies responded, along with four drones, to assist in the search. About 373 acres were covered during a foot search and approximately 497 acres were covered via aerial search by drones, the release said.
About 6 p.m. Thursday, a sonar team began to scan areas of Crystal Lake. Sonar technicians used cameras to search under all of the docks and piers along the entire shore of Crystal Lake and also used side scan sonar techniques on the lake itself off of the main beach area. The search ended about 10 p.m.
There was no obvious police presence Friday morning at the home. The trunk of a car in the driveway remained open, and the garage door also was open.
Law enforcement personnel were seen leaving the home of a neighbor on Friday. A sign at that home said the neighbors did not want to speak to media.
Authorities were seen coming out of the family home Thursday carrying bags. Police dogs also were at the scene. Dole Avenue was blocked off by police vehicles.
Neighbors said they saw family members leave the home with police around noon.
Neighbors said that Andrew’s parents also have a 3-year-old son.
Andrew has blond hair and was wearing a Mario sweatshirt and black sweatpants. He is about 3 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 70 pounds.
Crystal Lake police are asking for the public’s help in finding the child.
An Amber Alert was not issued because authorities have been unable to confirm that an abduction occurred.
Quirine Dahlquist, who lives around the corner from the home where AJ apparently went missing, said Thusday she was walking around the neighborhood searching for him, as were others.
“I’m freaking out for the family and I don’t even know them,” she said.
Bob Atkinson, who lives nearby, also was helping in the search.
“It’s upsetting,” he said, “especially you think it’s not gonna happen in my backyard and it did.”
Atkinson also said he had seen the family on walks around the neighborhood. He described the neighborhood as “typical middle class.”
Neighbor Janelle Butler said Thursday evening that officers came to her house just after 8 a.m. and told her the boy was missing. Officers with dogs searched the neighborhood, up and down the streets and backyards.
“No one has seen anything,” Butler said. “This neighborhood is extremely safe.”
She said there are always people walking and taking their dogs out and that if a child were wandering around the streets, someone would have called police.
“I hope he’s OK,” Butler said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Of the family, she said, “They really keep to themselves.” She said the couple has another 3-year-old son.
Authorities ask anyone with information to call the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620. Anyone with a cellphone who has information regarding the child can send an anonymous tip to the department by texting the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411 (tip411).
Check back for updates.
Chicago Tribune’s Stacey Wescott and Robert McCoppin contributed.
Amanda Marrazzo is a freelance reporter.