Community comes together to honor slain 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy

Hundreds of people lined the sidewalk and wound through Davenport Family Funeral Home on Friday during a public visitation for 5-year-old AJ Freund.

Many mourners dressed in blue or wore blue pins and ribbons in honor of the Crystal Lake boy. Blue ribbons were wrapped around trees along Route 176 and in nearby neighborhoods. Memorial signs bearing AJ’s face were placed around the area.

People of all ages came to pay respects, many crying as they walked away from the funeral home. Visitors expressed shock, hurt and sadness over the situation.

Johnsburg resident Jodi Hensley, a mother of three, attended the visitation to pay respects to the child whose story she has been following since the first day it made the news, when his parents, who now are charged with his death, reported him missing April 18, she said.

“I feel like [the story] is part of me, as a mother,” Hensley said.

She described her experience at the visitation as “horrible” and said the questions surrounding the boy’s short life haunt her.

“How can you do that to your child?” Hensley said. “I have been wondering this whole time what kind of stuff he had been through. Did he ever feel real love?”

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