A five-year-old boy told his doctor he was being abused months before his body was discovered in a shallow grave near his home.
The parents of Andrew 'AJ' Freund were arrested and charged with his murder hours after his body was found on Wednesday last week.
Records released by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Friday show AJ and his mother, JoAnn Cunningham, visited a doctor just before Christmas.
The records show AJ had a bruise on his hip, but he and Cunningham both said it was a bite from the family dog, reports Yahoo News.
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But the doctor was suspicious, and took AJ aside.
Tragically, AJ tried to tell authorities what was happening to him.
"Maybe someone hit me with a belt," AJ said.
"Maybe mummy didn't mean to hurt me."
Although the confession was reported to child welfare, there was not enough evidence to remove the 5-year-old from the home.
Child Welfare had been involved with the family since AJ's birth. He was born with opioids in his body, due to his mother's drug use.
After his birth in 2013, he was in foster care for two years, before being returned to his parents, reports Northwest Herald.
The department was called in twice in 2018 to investigate allegations of neglect and abuse that were determined to be unfounded.
However, documents obtained by CNN shows home visits had revealed poor living conditions, including "dog feces and urine" on the floor, broken windows and water damage, reports CNN.
AJ's younger sibling has been removed from the home, and is living with another family.