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Boy missing, suspect in custody in Hudson murders

Friday, October 24, 2008
 Photo: William Balfour  x Jennifer Hudson
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A suspect is in custody in the deaths of the mother and brother of singer and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

Hudson's mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason S. Hudson, 29, were found shot to death inside a home Friday afternoon.

The home where the bodies were discovered aruond 3 p.m., at 7019 S. Yale in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, belonged to Donerson.

A search is still underway for a young boy missing from the home. Jennifer Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, has been missing since Friday morning, according to Area 2 Deputy Chief Joseph Patterson.

King may be wearing a tan polo shirt with the number 5 on it and khaki pants.

Patterson said neighbors reported hearing shots between 8 and 9 a.m. State police have issued an Amber Alert for the child.

Authorities said King might be with William Balfour, Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law. But Balfour's mother confirmed late Friday that her son was in the custody of police. The boy had not yet been found.

Balfour is the husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia. They have been married for a year-and-a-half. He is not Julian King's father.

Illinois Dept. of Corrections records show Balfour was paroled from the Illinois River Correctional Center on May, 5, 2006. IDOC lists Balfour as serving seven years for attempted murder, intent to kill/injure, vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Balfour is believed to have lived in the house where the bodies were found.

Patterson said there was no sign of forced entry.

Patterson said a family member found the body of Donerson in the living room Friday afternoon and left the house to call police. When authorities arrived, they found Jason Hudson in a bedroom.

"That's something. It is baffling me. Who would do that when they wasn't even mean people or nothing like that, when they barbecue in front of the house, there was a lot of barbecue for everybody, just fun, sitting out and hanging out all the time. It would be fun. Jason was a good person," said Vanessa Stanton, neighbor.

Hudson reportedly arrived in Chicago just before 10 p.m. Friday from Tampa, Fla.

Jennifer Hudson is a member of Progressive Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side. Despite her daughter's celebrity, Donerson chose to stay and live on the South Side, a decision that did not go unnoticed by the church community.

"That says a lot about the fact of the kind of family Jennifer comes from," said Rev. Willie Davis, Progressive Baptist Church. "They're a family of faith. They want to be attached to their roots. And that's just the sign of the nature of their relationship with God."

Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls." In an interview last year with Vogue, Hudson credited her mother with encouraging her to audition for "American Idol," which launched her career.

The church is where Jennifer Hudson's mom sat in a front row pew and watched as her daughter sang to an absolutely packed house just one week before Jennifer Hudson would accept an Academy Award in Hollywood.

"I'm so grateful to have my mother here celebrating with me, my boyfriend, my sisters and brothers back home. I got two of them here. Thank you all for being here and supporting me," Jennifer Hudson said in her acceptance speech.

Jennifer Hudson's cousin is the music director at Progressive Baptist Church. He was getting ready for the regular Friday children's choir rehearsal when he got a phone call alerting him to what happened just a couple of miles away.

Jennifer Hudson attended Dunbar High School. Her dad died many years ago, and her mother, brother and sister still lived in Englewood.

Hudson continues to reach new heights in her career. Her song "Spotlight" is No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts and her recently released, self-tiled album debut and has been a top seller. She was featured in this year's blockbuster "Sex and the City" and is also starring in hit movie "The Secret Life of Bees."

Hudson recently announced her engagement to David Otunga, best known for his stint on VH1's reality show "I Love New York."

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William Balfour is 27 years old, 5' 8", 150 lbs, with a dark complexion with hsi hair in braids. Police were searching for Jason Hudson's SUV, which was seen in the area - a 1994 white Suburban, Illinois license plate number X584859, or a four-door, teal or green Chrysler Concord with a left, front headlight hanging out and scratched on the left side all along the vehicle with temporary tags 332K823. If you have any information about the case or missing child Julian King, you are asked to call the Area 1 Special Victims' Unit 312-747-8385.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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