The mother and brother of Oscar-winning actress and onetime American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson were found slain in their home on Chicago's South Side on Friday, the apparent result of a domestic disturbance, law enforcement officials have said. Police also said Hudson's nephew was missing from the scene. As of Saturday afternoon the 7-year-old had yet to be found, and the FBI is now involved in the search.
"We can confirm that there is an ongoing investigation concerning the deaths of Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and her brother, Jason Hudson," publicist Lisa Kasteler told CNN." Kasteler said she would release no other information about the deaths.
Police told the Chicago Tribune that one suspect in the double homicide — William Balfour, who is married to but currently is separated from Hudson's sister, Julia — was in custody and was being questioned, but had yet to be charged. Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections obtained by the AP show that Balfour, 27, is on parole after spending nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, among other crimes.
Balfour's mother has denied that her son was involved in the shootings or the disappearance of Hudson's nephew. "I didn't raise no murderer. He's no child abductor. They have the wrong person," the Tribune quotes Michele Balfour as saying Friday night. "All I want is for whoever has Julia's son to bring him back."
Authorities released an Amber alert for Hudson's nephew, 7-year-old Julian King, who was believed to be traveling with the suspect but has since gone missing. Described as 4-foot-11 and weighing 130 pounds, he last was seen wearing a striped polo shirt and khaki pants. The FBI on Saturday became involved in the search for King, since he may have been taken across state lines if abducted.
The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the two victims as Hudson's 57-year-old mother and 29-year-old brother. Deputy Police Chief Joseph Patterson said the bodies were discovered around 3 pm Friday, when a relative found the body of a female shot to death on the living room floor. That relative called the police, who found the body of a male shot to death in a bedroom.
Hudson rose to fame when she was notably voted off American Idol's third season earlier than expected. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her role in Dreamgirls, and was recently seen in the big-screen version of Sex and the City.