Hudson’s mum, brother murdered

CHICAGO: The mother and brother of Oscar-winning actress and chart-topping R&B singer Jennifer Hudson were found shot dead at the family’s Chicago home, according to a publicist for the actress and singer.

A Chicago police department spokesman said the murders appeared to be the result of a domestic incident, but would not confirm the identities of the victims. Hudson’s personal publicist Lisa Kasteler confirmed that the victims were Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donnerson, 57, and her brother, Jason Hudson, 29.

Neighbours reported hearing gunshots at Donnerson’s home in the Englewood neighbourhood of the city between 8:00 or 9:00 am on October 24, Friday, but no one raised the alarm until Hudson’s sister Julia returned home from work and made the gruesome discovery around 3:00 pm, FOX News reported.

Authorities immediately issued an all points bulletin for a missing seven-year-old boy, Julian King. Police said the missing youngster might have been abducted from the home and could be in the company of William Balfour, a suspect in the double homicide, who should be considered armed and dangerous.

The bulletin said Balfour, 27, could be driving a white Chevrolet Suburban truck. The truck belonged to Jason Hudson, the slain brother of the singer, according to records.

Neighbours and news reports identified the boy as the son of Julia Hudson, and Balfour as her estranged husband and the stepfather of King. Balfour is currently on parole after serving six and a half years for attempted murder, and had listed Hudson’s mother’s address as his own within the last year, the celebrity website TMZ said.

The ex-con was taken into custody by police late Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported shortly before 10:00 pm, but the paper said the missing boy was still unaccounted for.

Balfour was not co-operating with investigators and was not disclosing the whereabouts of the boy, FOX News reported. Jennifer Hudson was reported to be flying home to Chicago from Tampa, Florida.

The 27-year-old singer shot to nationwide fame on American Idol, and in 2007 she earned an Oscar for supporting actress for her turn in Dreamgirls.

Her self-titled debut album came out in September and is currently riding high in the charts with a number one single on the Billboard R&B charts, Spotlight. She has been promoting her latest film project, The Secret Life of Bees. In interviews, Hudson credited her mother with helping her launch her career by pushing her to apply to American Idol, and said her siblings kept her rooted.