Opioids Blamed After Mother Charged With Killing Five-Year-Old

“Our marriage started off well, then it was like a switch flipped in her head.”

The ex-husband of a woman named JoAnn Cunningham, charged with the murdering her 5-year-old son AJ, claims prescription pills contributed to the woman’s downward spiral in life.

“She was a decent person, but then she got hooked on pills and it all went downhill super fast,” Cunnigham’s first husband Craig Summerkamp told DailyMailTV.

Continuing, he noted, “Our marriage started off well and it was like a switch flipped in her head.”

The 36-year-old Cunningham and her 60-year-old lawyer-turned-lover Andrew Freund face five counts of first-degree murder as well as other charges related to the death and both parents are looking at life sentences if convicted.

Earlier this month, AJ’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock, Illinois, 10 miles from the family’s Crystal Lake home after being reported missing on April 18.

According to prosecutors, on April 15 AJ’s parents repeatedly hit him and forced the five-year-old “to remain in a cold shower for an extended period of time.”

An autopsy showed the young child died from blows to the head and Cunningham’s ex-husband Craig said, “I knew she wasn’t all there… but I never thought she would go this far. I figured she’d end up in jail or something but I never thought this would happen.”

The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services says social workers visited Cunningham and Freund 27 times since 2012 where they found dog urine and feces in a ripped apart house.

Social workers investigated the family after AJ told a doctor “Maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me,” after being questioned about bruising on his body in December of 2018.

AJ, who was born with opioids in his system, remained in the custody of Cunningham and Freund when the investigation into the bruises was closed after three weeks.

Summerkamp, who was married to Cunningham for five years, said, “She was beautiful— but then the drugs took hold.”

“It was the path she was on with the pills and then I heard later on that she had switched to harder stuff and that was it,” he added. “I just thank God we never had any kids together.”

Freund and Cunningham have another boy named Parker, who is now 4, and Cunningham is currently seven months pregnant with her third child with Freund.

Cunningham’s oldest child, who is now 18, was sent to live with his grandmother after Cunningham’s mother Lorelei Hughes won a court battle in 2013.

“I’m just really happy that her mom got custody,” said Summerkamp. “She did real good by him. She made sure he did very good in school. He was on the honor roll and was all-state for some sports. His football team made it to the state finals, he made it to the states for wrestling and she made sure he went off to college.”

Judge Wilbrandt, who presides over the ongoing murder case, remanded the couple until their preliminary hearings on May 10.

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Cornelius Rupert T.
Cornelius Rupert T.