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Authorities searching for a missing 5-year-old Illinois boy who had lived in deplorable conditions dug up his body Wednesday and charged his parents with murder, sadly declaring that the youngster would “no longer have to suffer.”

The body, believed to be that of Andrew “AJ” Freund, was covered in plastic buried in a shallow grave in a rural area of Woodstock in McHenry County, Crystal Lake police Chief James Black said.

Black said investigators went to the site after they interviewed the boy’s parents overnight and presented them with cellphone evidence. Woodstock is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Chicago and a few miles from the family’s home in Crystal Lake.

“This is not the outcome that we want to talk about … but it is the unfortunate result,” said Jeffrey Sallet, who runs the FBI in northern Illinois.

The parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, each face charges of first-degree murder and other crimes. An email seeking comment was sent to Cunningham’s lawyer. It wasn’t immediately known if Freund has a lawyer.

The couple reported AJ missing last Thursday, telling officers they had last seen him at bedtime the previous night. Freund told a dispatcher that they’d checked “closets, the basement, the garage, everywhere,” but investigators quickly knocked down the possibility of a kidnapping.

Speaking to reporters, Black had a message for AJ’s relatives: “It is my hope that you may have some solace in knowing that AJ is no longer suffering and his killers have been brought to justice.”

Crystal Lake police had visited the house at different times over the years, according to records released by the department. One report described the home as littered with dog feces and urine, including a child’s bedroom where the “smell of feces was overwhelming.” Another report said the house was “cluttered, dirty and in disrepair,” and sometimes without electricity.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, known as DCFS, had contact with the family since AJ was born with opiates in his body in 2013. The Northwest Herald said he was in foster care for two years before being returned to his parents. A younger brother was removed from the home last week.

Black said the cause of AJ’s death remains under investigation. Investigators removed several items from the home, including a shovel, mattress, paper bags and a plastic storage tub.

“We know you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer,” the police chief said in a public message intended for the boy.

DCFS acting director Marc Smith said AJ’s death was “heartbreaking.”

“The department is committed to conducting a comprehensive review of the entirety of our work with Andrew’s family to understand our shortcomings and to be fully transparent with the public on any steps we are taking to address the issues,” Smith said in a written statement.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker in March ordered an independent review of DCFS after the deaths of a 2-year-old girl in Decatur and a 2-year-old boy in Chicago. Child welfare workers had contacts with both families.

Source: Fox News National

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced Wednesday that voters can expect to see a female on the ticket if he wins his party’s nomination.

Speaking at the She The People Presidential Forum in Houston, the presidential hopeful was asked if he would pledge to having a woman running mate – something he has shied away from commiting to in the past.

“I will have a woman running mate,” Booker said. “To me it’s really clear that we do that.”

Booker previously suggested that “if I have it my way,” he would pick a woman to run alongside him.

KAMALA HARRIS AND CORY BOOKER MISSED MOST VOTES OF ALL DEM SENATORS RUNNING IN 2020

“I am very confident that this election, we will make history, because no matter what, I’m looking you in the eye and saying this, there will be a woman on the ticket. I don’t know if it’s in the vice president’s position or the president’s position,” Booker said last month at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

Booker’s announcement could give him a more competitive edge in the crowded field of Democratic contenders, which includes a number of female candidates.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., also recently announced that he would be choosing a female running mate, saying he thinks the next president should run with someone who can speak to a different “experience” then he can as a “white man.”’

“I’ve pledged that I would ask a woman to serve as Vice President,” he said Tuesday. “ I would put forward a diverse candidate and I would put forward policies that would make sure that inherent bias that exists or discrimination that exists in communities would be eliminated.”

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Among the female Democratic presidential candidates are Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Booker’s appearance Wednesday marked the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color. The other candidates to appear included Harris, Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Dr. Marc Siegel, a medical school professor at New York University, Wednesday praised the progress made against the opioid epidemic since President Donald Trump declared the issue a national public health emergency in 2017.

“Prescribing of opioids … is down 25 percent over a year period,” Siegel said during an appearance on “Outnumbered Overtime.” He also is a Fox News contributor. “That’s huge because that’s the engine in a way that’s driving this.”

He also touted the 3.5 percent decrease in deaths due to opioids. “That’s huge,” Siegel told host Melissa Francis, “because it’s the number one cause of accidental death in the United States.”

Siegel’s comments came just before the president and First Lady Melania Trump spoke at a drug abuse summit in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday.

MASSACHUSETTS STATE PRISONS OFFER MEDICATION TO COMBAT INMATES’ OPIOID ADDICTION

Siegel argued that beyond prescription rates, a culture of loneliness and separation fueled the opioid epidemic. “It’s a culture of loneliness, of separation, of a community health problem … unemployment.”

Just a week before Siegel’s comments, the administration announced charges against 60 individuals for allegedly participating in illegal distribution and prescribing of opioids and other narcotics.

The Health and Human Services Department also said it excluded 2,000 indiviudals from federal health programs due to their involvement with opioid diversion and abuse.

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At the event on Wednesday, the president touted his administration’s progress on the issue. “My administration is deploying every resource at our disposal to empower you, to support you and to fight right by your side,” he also said.

“We will not solve this epidemic overnight but we will stop. … We will never stop until our job is done.”

Source: Fox News National

California authorities on Wednesday released the name of the suspected driver accused of plowing a vehicle into eight people a day earlier.

Isaiah Joel Peoples, of Sunnyvale, Calif., was identified as the suspect by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Twitter.

Peoples was allegedly behind the wheel of a black 2010 Toyota Corolla that rammed into the group and he is suspected of possibly doing so “intentionally,” officials said following the incident.

DRIVER PLOWS INTO GROUP OF PEOPLE IN CALIFORNIA, INJURING 8 BEFORE SMASHING INTO TREE, POLICE SAY

It occurred around 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday as the driver was heading west on El Camino Real towards the city of Mountain View, DPS said. After striking the group, the car continued for a few more yards before slamming into a tree near a shopping center.

Following this, Peoples was taken into custody.

“We don’t know the motive behind this,” Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Capt. Jim Choi told Fox 2. “The driver might have intentionally ran into the group of people at the sidewalk. There was no attempt to break or steer away.”

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The individuals struck by the vehicle were taken to the hospital, though their conditions were not made available.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

Former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile, a Fox News contributor, said she thinks former Vice President Joe Biden  “is a proven leader,” and has what it takes to “go the distance” in the 2020 presidential race.

Brazile made her comments on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday, the day before Biden is expected to declare his candidacy for president.

The announcement would end months of speculation as the 76-year-old Biden mulled making what would be a third White House bid. Despite the recent #MeToo controversy complicating his would-be campaign, the former vice president has remained at the top of most public opinion polls.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN LAUNCH PUSHED TO THURSDAY

Biden’s potential political campaign hit a bump recently after several women complained publicly about the prospective 2020 Democratic candidate, accusing him of touching them inappropriately at events.

“With 20 candidates I’m not sure that it’s time to pick number one. But he is number one in the polls. That’s because, of course, he was vice president for eight years. He’s been a public servant. He is a proven leader,” said Brazile.

She added, “The race to the White House is about delegates and the question is, will he have enough, what I like to say, enough miles to go the distance? I do believe he will go the distance and that’s because voters know him, they appreciate his leadership. But what’s his vision? That’s what this generation of Democrats will be asking him. Where do you want to take us?”

‘THE VIEW’ CO-HOST JOY BEHAR BLASTS TRUMP OVER MUELLER REPORT OMISSION: ‘THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN’

Brazile also weighed in on congressional Democrats pushing to keep investigating President Trump despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.

When asked if it is a good strategy for Democrats to continue to push, Brazile answered, “Absolutely,” adding, “No one is above the law. In fact, Democrats will be running on protecting our democracy.”

She added, “Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time. You have Democrats out there talking about everything from jobs and the economy and infrastructure, they’re running for president, they’re running to replace Donald Trump in 2020. But you have Capitol Hill Democrats. That’s part of their responsibility in our system of government. So yes, we could do both.”

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“No one is above the law. I think the president should comply with the request from the United States House of Representatives,” said Brazile.

She added, “This is important for the health of our democracy and the future of the United States of America. This is not partisan.”

Source: Fox News Politics

The Latest on eight people injured in Northern California after a car plows into them (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

Police in Northern California have identified the man arrested after he allegedly deliberately plowed into a group of people, injuring eight.

The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety says 34-year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples, of Sunnyvale, was arrested Tuesday.

Sunnyvale Police Capt. Jim Choi says investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the crash Tuesday evening. The FBI says it is assisting with the probe.

Choi says some of the eight people injured, including a 13-year-old girl, were at a corner or on the crosswalk when the car hit them before smashing into a tree. The victims’ conditions have not been released.

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12:05 p.m.

A man who witnessed a California crash that injured eight people says when he approached the driver’s side of the car, the man was repeatedly saying, “thank you Jesus.”

Don Draper, of San Jose, says he was enraged after seeing the Toyota Corolla slam into pedestrians at high speed, then crash into a tree. He says he marched up to the car ready to confront the driver.

Draper says the driver was crouched over the steering wheel, unhurt. The car was hissing steam and the airbag had deployed.

Draper said the driver’s speech was not slurred and he did not look at him.

Later, he saw the driver had climbed out of his car and was lying face down on the grass outside.

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11:35 a.m.

Police officers are at the apartment in Northern California of a man that authorities say appeared to deliberately plow into a group of people, injuring eight.

Authorities have not identified the man who was driving the Toyota Corolla but officers on Wednesday were at an apartment associated with the car’s owner in Sunnyvale, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

Sunnyvale Police Capt. Jim Choi says investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the crash Tuesday evening. The FBI says it is assisting with the probe.

Choi says some of the eight people injured, including a 13-year-old girl, were at a corner or on the crosswalk when the car hit them before smashing into a tree.

The crosswalk reopened Wednesday morning.

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7:30 a.m.

The FBI says it’s assisting California officials in the investigation of a motorist who appeared to deliberately plow into a group of people, injuring eight.

Prentice Danner, a spokesman for the FBI’s field office in San Francisco, says the Sunnyvale Police Department is the lead agency in the investigation. But Danner says that if it is determined a federal crime was committed, the bureau will become more involved.

Sunnyvale Police Cpt. Jim Choi says the driver of the car was arrested and has been identified but that his name is not being made public to avoid compromising the investigation.

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6:30 a.m.

Authorities in Northern California say a man was arrested after he appeared to deliberately plow into a group of people, injuring eight, but that a motive is still under investigation.

Sunnyvale Police Cpt. Jim Choi tells KPIX-TV that witnesses told investigators the motorists was speeding and drove directly toward the pedestrians without trying to veer away or stop the car before striking the pedestrians Tuesday night.

Choi says some of the eight people injured were at a corner or on the crosswalk and that officials have to indication the motorists tried to avoid them. The department says the crosswalk remains closed Wednesday as officials investigate.

He says officials are looking into whether the driver was having a medical emergency or purposely hit the pedestrians.

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12:00 a.m.

Authorities say eight people have been injured after a motorist appeared to deliberately plow into them in Sunnyvale.

The Bay Area city’s Department of Public Safety says it happened Tuesday evening.

Eight people were taken to the hospital, including a 13-year-old boy.

There’s no word on their condition or a motive for the apparent attack.

The driver was taken into custody after the car smashed into a tree.

KGO-TV reports that witnesses say the man apparently made no effort to stop before hitting the pedestrians.

Source: Fox News National

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, apparently reneged on his admissions for some of his alleged crimes, indicating that he only pleaded guilty to avoid dragging his wife through a prolonged legal battle.

The revelations came from a recorded March 25 phone call he had with actor and Cohen’s close friend Tom Arnold, the audio of which The Wall Street Journal obtained and published Wednesday. Although Cohen reportedly stood by his plea on campaign finance violations, which implicated the president over his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, he appeared to reverse admissions related to tax evasion and a charge related to a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

“There is no tax evasion,” Cohen said. “And the HELOC? I have an 18 percent loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a HELOC issue?” Cohen portrayed himself as a victim — noting how he lost his insurance, business, and law license — and lamented the lack of support he received after coming forward to law enforcement.

“I shouldn’t be alone anymore. I mean, after over a hundred hours of testimony, right, including seven-and-a-half hours of being beaten up on national television,” he said.

MICHAEL COHEN ASKS HOUSE DEMOCRATS TO HELP KEEP HIM OUT OF PRISON

He also described his dedication to his wife, Laura Shusterman, and his intent to help her avoid legal trouble. “I love this woman. I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap,” he said before noting he wasn’t expecting the three-year sentence he received.

Cohen’s name made its way back into the news in April when Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report on the Russia investigation. Mueller’s report made 14 criminal referrals, which included Cohen, who admitted to paying Daniels hush money just before the 2016 presidential election.

While Trump has denied wrongdoing related to that payment and another to Karen McDougal, Cohen stood by his guilty plea. “They had me on campaign finance,” he said in the call with Arnold.

During his call, Cohen appeared to describe the conflict he faced in turning on the president, whom he had served for a decade. “I needed to get the truth out there, and (it’s) very hard when you spend 10 years taking care of somebody and their family,” Cohen told Arnold.

MICHAEL COHEN LAWYER ATTEMPTS TO CLARIFY TESTIMONY ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL PARDON, AMID CRITICISM

“And look, I always knew, you know, who he was and what he was and so on, but it didn’t really matter because it’s — he’s a small microcosm of New York real estate. It’s very different when you start looking to seeing what’s happening now in the country,” he said.

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s new attorney, labeled Cohen’s walkback “poetic justice.”

“Since Cohen began composing for the Angry Democrats he has demonstrably lied under oath in his guilty plea and his testimony to Elijah ‘I’ll throw the book at you’ Cummings,” Giuliani said in another tweet. “Report ignores all of this and provides no facts to evaluate Cohen’s credibility. One of many deceptions,” he said in an apparent dig at the Journal.

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Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told Fox News: “Nothing said by Mr. Cohen to Tom Arnold contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December. I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation.”

The White House did not respond for a request for comment.

Fox News’ Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Authorities say the leader of a civilian group that has detained asylum-speaking migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border was injured while he was jailed in New Mexico, after being arrested on federal weapons charges.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday in a statement that 69-year-old Larry Hopkins was transferred Tuesday out of the county jail after suffering non-life threatening injuries Monday night.

The statement did not provide specifics on the “alleged battery” in which Hopkins was injured in Las Cruces, but Hopkins’ lawyer, Kelly O’Connell, told the Albuquerque Journal that his client was hospitalized for rib injuries following an altercation.

The FBI arrested Hopkins on a federal complaint accusing him of being a felon in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

O’Connell has said Hopkins will plead not guilty.

Source: Fox News National

President Trump on Wednesday touted his administration’s success in combating the opioid epidemic in the United States, while acknowledging that there is still more work to do.

Speaking at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, the president’s remarks noted the steps his administration has taken to battle the epidemic, but also veered into his frequent critique of drugs coming over the U.S.’s southern border into the country.

“We will not solve this epidemic overnight,” Trump said to an audience of elected leaders and health and law enforcement officials gathered in the Georgia capital. “But we will never stop until the job is done.”

Trump added: “We will succeed and we’re making tremendous progress.”

NEW YORK SUES MAKERS OF OXYCONTIN DAYS AFTER COMPANY AGREES TO $270M SETTLEMENT

The president has declared opioids a national health emergency, while First Lady Melania Trump, who also spoke at the conference, focuses on the issue in her national “Be Best” child welfare campaign.

“I’m proud of this administration’s historic progress,” the first lady said before introducing her husband.

Opioid abuse claimed a record nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. An estimated 2 million people are addicted to the drugs, which include both legal prescription pain medications and illegal drugs like heroin.

There have been signs of progress.The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell substantially in 2017. Still, it’s unclear whether the opioid problem is on the decline.

Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top advisers, said at a White House gaggle Wednesday that Twitter and Google have helped the administration combat the opioid and drug crisis. So far, the administration has helped collect 3.7 million pounds of unused and expired medications — enough to fill seven Air Force One planes, she said.

The next “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” is Saturday.

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Conway said she met Tuesday with drug enforcement and officials from Google, which is helping the administration by displaying links to about 5,500 locations where people can drop off unused and expired pills.

Trump also hit Mexico for allowing heroin and other opioids to come into the country, and promised that his much-touted border wall will help stem the flow of drugs into the U.S.

“Heroin alone kills 300 Americans, 90 percent of which enter the Southern Border,” Trump said.

While it’s true that the vast majority of heroin in the U.S. comes from Mexico, virtually all of it makes its way into the country through legal ports of entry and not by traffickers sneaking it across the border unnoticed.

“A small percentage of all heroin seized by CBP along the land border was between Ports of Entry (POEs),” the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2018 report.

There is also contention over Trump’s claims of progress in combating the opioid epidemic.

Keith Humphreys, a drug policy adviser in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations who now is at Stanford University, said some states are making progress in combating opioids abuse, but not because of Trump’s actions. Humphreys cited Rhode Island and Vermont as examples. He also said some states have regressed.

Humphreys said the president’s declaration of opioids addiction as a public health emergency in 2017 failed to translate into significant concrete action. Members of Congress, he said, “figured out they were going to have to do it themselves and they did.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Latest on the search for a missing 5-year-old Illinois boy (all times local):

3 p.m.

Police say the body of a 5-year-old Illinois boy whose parents reported him missing last week was found buried in a shallow grave and wrapped in plastic in a rural area a few miles from the family’s home.

Crystal Lake police Chief James Black said during a news conference that investigators found what they believe to be the remains of Andrew “AJ” Freund early Wednesday in the neighboring city of Woodstock. Efforts are underway to confirm it is AJ’s body.

He says they were led to the body after interviewing AJ’s parents overnight and presenting them with cellphone evidence.

The parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, each face five counts of first-degree murder and other charges.

Authorities say they reported him missing last Thursday and told officers they last saw him at bedtime the night before.

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2 p.m.

Authorities say they have found what they believe is the body of a 5-year-old Illinois boy who went missing last week, and that his parents have been charged with murder in his death.

Crystal Lake police Chief James Black said at a news conference Wednesday that police dug up what they believe is Andrew “AJ” Freund’s body in a field and that it was wrapped in plastic.

He says AJ’s parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, face murder and other charges in the boy’s death.

Authorities say the boys’ parents reported him missing last Thursday and told officers they last saw him at bedtime the night before.

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12:30 p.m.

Officers have removed several items from the home of an Illinois couple whose 5-year-old son has been missing for nearly a week.

Photos and video show the officers leaving the Crystal Lake home of Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham on Wednesday with a shovel, mattress, brown paper bags and plastic storage tub.

Searchers have been scouring the area for the couple’s missing son, Andrew “AJ” Freund. Authorities say the boys’ parents reported him missing last Thursday and told officers they last saw him at bedtime the night before.

Police say Cunningham has been refusing to cooperate with detectives. They say they don’t believe the boy was abducted and that he didn’t leave the home on foot. State child welfare officials have taken custody of the couple’s 4-year-old son, Parker.

Authorities plan to give an update on the investigation at a 1 p.m. news conference.

___

9:25 a.m.

The FBI and police in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake are planning a news conference as they search for a 5-year-old boy who has been missing for nearly a week.

The Crystal Lake Police Department says the news conference will take place at noon on Wednesday at City Hall. The agencies have been searching for Andrew “AJ” Freund since his parents reported him missing last Thursday. The couple said they saw him at bedtime the night before and couldn’t find him in the morning.

Police searched for AJ in a park on Tuesday and said they planned to use sonar to search ponds in the community, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.

Authorities say they don’t believe the boy was abducted or wandered away.

Source: Fox News National


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