A former state child welfare worker, Carlos Acosta, has been convicted of child endangerment in connection with the 2019 beating death of a 5-year-old boy, Andrew “AJ” Freund, in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Acosta, who was a case investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, was found guilty by Lake County Judge George Strickland. However, Acosta’s supervisor, Andrew Polovin, was acquitted of both child endangerment and reckless conduct charges.
The judge stated that he could not find Polovin guilty because it was unclear how much he knew about the abuse inflicted on AJ by his mother, JoAnn Cunningham. Cunningham is currently serving a 35-year sentence for the murder of her son. AJ’s father, Andrew Freund Sr., was sentenced to 30 years in prison for covering up the murder by burying the boy’s body in a field.
Acosta and Polovin were accused of disregarding multiple warning signs of the boy’s abuse. Acosta’s attorney, Matthew McQuaid, expressed gratitude for the verdict and stated that he never believed his client committed a crime. Polovin, who was terminated from his position, now works in a different field.
Authorities revealed that Cunningham killed AJ on April 15, 2019, after becoming angry about soiled underwear that he had tried to hide. She subjected the boy to a cold shower for at least 20 minutes, struck him in the head with the shower head, and then put him to bed cold, wet, and naked. AJ’s body was later discovered wrapped in plastic in a shallow grave near the family’s home in Crystal Lake.