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Body ID'd as Hudson nephew Julian King

Monday, October 27, 2008
 x ABC7 Image    Photo: William Balfour  x Jennifer Hudson
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Members of Jennifer Hudson's family have identified a body found in an SUV Monday morning as that of the singer's nephew.

The body of Julian King was found in the rear seat of his uncle's SUV, which was wanted in connection to the disappearance of the 7-year-old. King had been missing since Friday.

An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday morning. Police say King was shot. They returned to the Hudson home Monday night with metal detectors to investigate the scene further.

Three family members, including Jennifer Hudson; Julian's mother, Julia Hudson; and another man, went to identify the body. Jennifer Hudson made the official identification.

They arranged to view Julian's body via a live video feed. Upon seeing his face, Jennifer Hudson reportedly made the official identification. A Cook County spokesperson commented on the moment

"Remarkably, Jennifer Hudson was very strong for her family, and it was very apparent that she was the leader within that group, that kept the composure," said Sean Howard, Cook County spokesman. "It was a very touching, emotional moment but yet and still Ms. Hudson remained strong, and she encouraged her family members to remain strong."

An Amber Alert was issued for King after the Oscar-winning actress' mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, and brother, 29-year-old Jason Hudson, were found shot to death Friday on the city's South Side. That Amber Alert included a description of Jason Hudson's SUV, which was found in the 1300-block of South Kolin Avenue Monday just after 7 a.m. It was towed away around 9 a.m.

"Responding officers observed a white, Chevy Suburban with license plate number X584859 and confirmed that this was the vehicle that was the subject of the Amber Alert and the wanted vehicle. Further investigation revealed that a body was inside. But can't identify the body pending the medical examiner's examination. The vehicle has been towed for further processing, and the investigation is ongoing," said Gulliford.

"That car was sitting there too long. I said, 'You know what? It would be something if it was that truck.' And sure enough, it was," said Dominique Williams, neighborhood resident.

Williams and her aunt Lynette Louden wondered all weekend about the white Chevrolet Suburban parked outside their house on South Kolin. After seeing a morning news report that police were looking for an SUV that fit that description, Louden told her husband to write down the license number.

"It matched what was on the TV," said Louden.

Louden called police, who arrived minutes later and found the body of a male, African-American child in the rear passenger compartment. They would not confirm reports the boy had been shot to death...or where he may have been killed.

Louden said that passersby could not see the body from the street.

"The front didn't have tinted windows, but the back did," she siad.

Investigators closed off the area where the vehicle was found. It is not clear how long the vehicle was parked on the street. Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said it had likely been several days.

In the Lawndale neighborhood early Monday morning, police sources say they searched a home in the 1900-block of South Spaulding, which is about two miles from where the SUV was found, and where William Balfour, 27, a person of interest in the murders, was arrested. He has not been charged but he is in police custody on a parole violation.

"They kicked the back gate down, took him out the back," said Jonathan O'Neal, neighbor

Police do not have a motive for the killings but called the case "domestic related." A police spokesperson said Balfour, who had been in police custody since Friday, was transferred Sunday to the Illinois Department of Corrections "based on his active parole violation unrelated to this investigation."

Records from the Corrections Department show Balfour is on parole and spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle.

Hudson offered a $100,000 reward for the safe return of King, who is the son of Hudson's sister, Julia. Balfour is Julia Hudson's estranged husband, according to relatives.

Over the weekend, the Hudson family and friends gathered at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church on the city's South Side to pray that King would be found safe.

"I'm just angry right now. It's senseless. And I just want Jennifer to know that we love her, and Julia to know that we love her. Our whole family loves them. And the church is praying for them. Pastor Nichols is praying for them. First Lady Nichols is praying. And we're just leaves you speechless, really. It's hard," said Rev. Krista Alston, cousin.

On Jennifer Hudson's Myspace page, she posted several pictures of King, including some from his seventh birthday and a few showing him with his grandmother.

Hudson, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls," was in Chicago with her family during the weekend, her sister said. Hudson's publicist did not disclose her whereabouts, but the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed she identified the bodies of her mother and brother.

Funeral arrangements had yet to be scheduled, but Jennifer Hudson's aunt owns a funeral home and says they'll handle the arrangements for the family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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