Illinois child welfare employee investigated after boy dies

FILE - In this Sunday, June 17, 2018, file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. Child welfare agencies across America make wrenching decisions every day to separate children from their parents. But those agencies have ways of minimizing the trauma that aren't being employed by the Trump administration at the Mexican border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP, File)
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Illinois prosecutors are investigating a former child welfare agency employee who supervised an abuse claim involving a 5-year-old suburban Chicago boy later found beaten to death, documents show.

Prosecutors are exploring whether to charge Andrew Polovin with child endangerment related to Andrew “A.J.” Freund, The Northwest Herald reported. McHenry County state’s attorney investigator Robert Diviacchi filed a search warrant affidavit this month seeking Polovin’s personnel files, training transcripts and employee evaluations.

Polovin was a Department of Children and Family Services supervisor who closed a 2018 investigation into a bruised hip that Andrew “A.J.” Freund had almost four months before authorities believe the boy was killed in his family’s Crystal Lake home. Polovin and the child protection specialist assigned to check a December 2018 call from Crystal Lake police about the boy’s injury were later fired from the state agency.

Polovin has not spoken publicly about the case and the newspaper could not reach him for comment about the affidavit.

A.J. was found in a shallow grave in April 2019. His parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr., were charged with killing him. Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year, and Freund remains jailed on $5 million bond while awaiting trial.

The search warrant affidavit alleges that Polovin allowed protective custody of A.J. to lapse before conducting a proper investigation. It also says he left out a Crystal Lake police report and other records from A.J.’s file.

The boy gave varying explanations for the hip bruise, including that the family dog had done it during play. But records show he also told an emergency room doctor, “Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”

Diviacchi alleged in his affidavit that Polovin failed to take several steps before the boy was allowed to return home, including examining the house and interviewing A.J’.’s father.