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Child welfare director to face questions after boy’s death

John O'Connor and Don Babwin
Associated Press
JoAnn Cunningham, left, and Andrew Freund Sr. have been charged in the murder of their five year-old son, Andrew "AJ" Freund.

Chicago – An Illinois lawmaker says the state’s new child welfare director will face tough questions from a state House panel following the beating death of a 5-year-old boy who had extensive contact with child welfare workers.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz says Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc D. Smith will be questioned Friday in Chicago about the agency’s actions in the case of 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund. He was under the agency’s watch when his badly beaten body was discovered Wednesday in a shallow grave in McHenry County.

His parents have been charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege the couple forced the boy to stand in a cold shower and beat him.

Feigenholtz is on the Appropriations-Human Services Committee, which is scheduled to hear budget requests from several state agencies, including DCFS.

Mourners gather outside the home of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund for a vigil Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Crystal Lake, Ill. Andrew's body was found in a wooded area in Woodstock Wednesday, and the boy's parents have been charged with his murder.

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O’Connor reported from Springfield, Illinois.