The city of Crystal Lake could accept a bid as soon as Jan. 7 for the demolition of the home where police say 5-year-old AJ Freund was beaten to death by his parents.
One of the city’s attorneys, David Goles, confirmed at a brief court hearing on Wednesday that the bidding process is underway. Crystal Lake officials simultaneously are exploring “alternate options for the property” at 94 Dole Ave., Goles said. The lawyer declined to elaborate on what those “alternative options” might entail.
Accused child killers Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham haven’t stepped foot in the house since their April 24 arrest on first-degree murder charges tied to the boy’s death.
Cunningham, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 5 to an amended count of first-degree murder, is expected to be sentenced in 2020. Freund is due back in court on Jan. 14.
Once the city is ready to accept a bid, the decision will appear as a regular item on the City Council’s agenda, Mayor Aaron Shepley has said.
“We expect that staff will present the bids that we receive for the demolition work at the Jan. 7 meeting,” Shepley said. “We will likely approve the lowest bidder at that time and then work will begin thereafter.”
Demolition of the Dole Avenue house has been in the works since July, when city officials filed their request to tear down the 1,376-square-foot single-family home. At the time, the city estimated it would cost more to bring the house up-to-code than it would cost to knock it down.
McHenry County Judge Kevin Costello granted the city’s request late last month, although official ownership of the property remains in limbo. The current mortgage holder, a private real estate investigator named William Progar, was the lone bidder on the property during a foreclosure sale in November, therefore winning it by default.
A judge had not yet approved the foreclosure sale as of Wednesday, however.
Once the sale is final, Freund and Cunningham will have a 30-day grace period to remove their personal belongings from the home.
The matter will resume in McHenry County Circuit Court on Jan. 15.