If you have been following the news out of Crystal Lake, Illinois about the missing 5-year old child, AJ Freund, then you are aware of the tragic outcome. There was a lot of skepticism from the police about the parents’ story of events. Combined with the history of the relationship the parents had with the child, the police just didn’t believe them. The police knew they were involved; it just didn’t add up.
The turning point came thanks to the hard and quick work of the digital forensic examiners involved. The forensic analysis of the parents’ cell phones by the FBI, revealed information about the location where the parents’ devices had been just before AJ was reported missing. Once confronted with the data extracted from the cell phones, the couple led police to the location where they had buried their son’s body.
If you are wondering just how much help digital forensics evidence can be in a case, the ABC 7 article contains a quote from one of their legal analysts, Gil Soffer “It can be very powerful evidence and as happened here it looks as if it was used to extract an admission or a confession that led police to the body… Without this kind of evidence, all the police would be able to do is to look at someone and say now just tell us the truth, where were you and what were you doing. That doesn’t get you very far.”
As we frequently see, digital evidence obtained from mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets can contain a great deal of information. In this case, the location data was critical in bringing a quick resolution to the investigation.
As of Wednesday night (April 24, 2019), the suspects, Joan Cunningham and Andrew ‘Drew’ Freund, are in jail and are facing a total of 23 felonies, including 5 counts each of first-degree murder.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology