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State

DNA test shows mother's ex, not husband, fathered AJ Freund's baby sister

Paternity test results confirmed that the ex-fiance of accused child killer JoAnn Cunningham fathered the woman's youngest child.

A judge confirmed Monday that Daniel Nowicki is the father of AJ Freund's baby sister. The child remains in Illinois Department of Child and Family Services custody while Cunningham awaits trial on first-degree murder charges tied AJ's death.

The determination means that AJ's biological father and accused murderer, Andrew Freund Sr., no longer will be included in conversations regarding the young girl's placement.

DCFS has until Aug. 27 to provide prosecutors with the indicated report of abuse or neglect that prompted officials to remove AJ's younger brother from his Crystal Lake home in April.

The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office has filed a petition to terminate Freund and Cunningham's parental rights over the young boy.

Both cases will be continued to 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

Freund, 60, and Cunningham, 36, were charged with AJ's death in April after Freund allegedly led police to the rural Woodstock site where AJ's body was discovered in a shallow grave.

Nowicki, who currently is attending an inpatient treatment center in Waukegan, was not in court Monday. Although he previously was in a relationship with Cunningham, the pair had split up by the time charges were filed in connection with AJ's death.

Both he and Cunningham have pleaded not guilty to the series of charges filed against them. Cunningham is expected to make her next criminal court appearance Aug. 28.

Nowicki does not face any charges tied to the boy's death, and was in custody at the McHenry County jail on unrelated charges when Freund reported AJ missing April 18.

In May, Nowicki was granted probation after pleading guilty to aggravated battery charges stemming from his Dec. 18 arrest.

He again was arrested June 12, however, when a drug test revealed that he had cocaine in his system and he was not taking prescribed medications.

AJ, Nowicki previously told the Northwest Herald, was like his own son.

“It’s been hell,” he said.

Although Nowicki had some knowledge of Cunningham hitting AJ with a belt, he never witnessed any of the violence described in police reports and affidavits that have been made public since the boy’s death, he said.

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