Monday, October 27, 2008

Jennifer Hudson ID's Nephew's Body; Child Shot to Death, Sources Say

Jennifer Hudson IDs nephew's body; child shot, sources say

October 27, 2008 at 5:22 PM | Comments (11)

Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson helped positively identify the body of her young nephew today, hours after he was found with gunshot wounds in a sport-utility vehicle on Chicago's West Side, authorities said.

An autopsy was scheduled to be done on the body of 7-year-old Julian King Tuesday at the Cook County medical examiner's office, where Hudson and other relatives went to help identify the remains this afternoon.

A law enforcement source told the Tribune that the boy had been shot multiple times in the back of the white Chevrolet Suburban. The vehicle had been the subject of an intense search and Amber Alert issued on Friday after Hudson's mother and brother were found shot and killed inside the family's South Side home.

Chicago police brought Julian's body to the medical examiner's office shortly after noon today and Hudson and other family members arrived about three hours later, said office spokesman Sean Howard.

When the group entered a viewing room at the office Hudson held her head down, as if praying, he said. The family then identified Julian via a video screen mounted on a wall that showed his face. The family chose the video screen option rather than looking directly at the body, Howard said.

The family was "obviously distraught," but Howard said Hudson "remained strong for her family. It was very clear she was the leader.

"She held hands with her family. It was obviously a very emotional moment."

When they saw the boy's face on the screen, Hudson told investigators, "Yes, that is him," Howard said.

Police found the bodies of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, on Friday afternoon after a family member came to their home in the 7000 block of South Yale Avenue and saw signs of violence inside. The murders sparked a manhunt for William Balfour, 27, and a search for Julian.

Police were called shortly after 7 a.m. today after a resident reported a suspicious vehicle in the 1300 block of South Kolin Avenue. The white Suburban was noticed by a 75-year-old who lives on the block, John Louden.

He said he has lived on the block for 18 years and worried about people selling drugs in the abandoned building behind it. He saw the SUV while walking his dog. After a double-take, he realized the license plate matched the one police were looking for.

"I didn't look in there. I didn't touch it. I knew it was a strange vehicle," Louden said. He said police showed up in about five minutes after his wife called them. They discovered the child inside. The body was removed and the SUV was towed away for evidence processing. "I feel bad about that baby," Louden said.

During an afternoon news conference, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis was asked why a resident, rather than police, discovered the missing vehicle.

"Well, it's a big city. The area that the car was located in was a couple miles away from the first crime scene so it wasn't in an area where we were initially looking," Weis said.

He said helicopters were searching the city for the SUV, in addition to the Amber Alert that was out across the area, and he said a block by block grid search was set up near where the Hudson home after the killings.

He said the investigation into the murders was continuing and declined to release details about what police believe may have been the motive. "There's a lot of work to be done, we'll make sure to go through this very thoroughly," he said.

Before the positive identification, Hudson's family members and supporters were already preparing for the hard news--that this was the third member of her family killed since Friday

"It's shocking. It's unreal. We had been praying that it would not come to this," said Rev. Krista Alston, a cousin of Hudson and a minister at the Pleasant Gift Baptist Church in Chicago. "We know it's a reality now, but it's still shocking."

Balfour, the estranged husband of the boy's mother, Julia Hudson, was brought in for questioning Friday night. He was initially described by police as a suspect in the investigation.

The boy remained missing through a long weekend in which police and volunteers posted fliers around the city with pictures of the boy. On Sunday, his actress aunt--grieving and rushing to Chicago from Florida where she was promoting a film--offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who found the boy.

Police searched Balfour's girlfriend's house for several hours Friday night after taking him into custody. Her home is located about 2.5 miles from where the SUV was found this morning.

Balfour has denied involvement in the killings, law-enforcement sources said. But at some point, Balfour stopped talking to authorities, sources told the Tribune.

On Sunday morning, Balfour was transferred to a state facility after officials said he violated conditions of parole for a 1999 conviction for attempted murder. Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said Balfour violated his parole because he is a suspect in the slayings and the boy's disappearance.

According to law-enforcement sources, Balfour's alibi the day of the killings has been contradicted by his girlfriend.

Balfour and Julia Hudson had been separated for some time, his family members said. A family friend said Balfour recently had threatened to take Julian away.

A family member of the girlfriend's said police have interviewed her. Police also tracked Balfour's whereabouts Friday through his cell phone, sources said.

-- Joel Hood, Stacy St. Clair, Dan Blake, Angela Rozas, David Heinzmann, James Janega, Liam Ford, Rob Mitchum and Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune


Jennifer Hudson family case

Englewood Resident on October 27, 2008 4:53 PM
WHAT A SHAME ..... I HOPE AND PRAY TO GOD THAT WHOEVER DID THIS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE a 7 year old boy WHY it does not make sense and for William Balfour's mother to say that her son didn't have anything to do with it HOW HOW do you know? A person is capable of anything she owes that family a BIG BIG apology, I don't care if they didn't charge him yet he is some how involved...

Sherie on October 27, 2008 4:55 PM
Balfour’s mother has denied Balfour was at the home that day.
How sick. This woman is sick. Look what she has done by lying for her son all this time. This is just disgusting. I cannot even imagine what would be going through a peson's mind to do something like this to a little 7 year old boy. God have mercy on all your souls. This is shameful, disgusting, barbaric. What an animal to do this to a baby!

Lisa on October 27, 2008 4:57 PM
I am sitting here bawling my eyes out how on earth can someone be so cruel?I just can't imagine what this family is going thur.I will continue to pray for them that is about all that is left to do.Lord I pray that you will wrap your loving arms around them and confort them in this very very dark hour.

springfield il on October 27, 2008 5:01 PM
im so sorry for the lost of the child but i wanna know if the boy mom was in the home too why is she ok thats common sense was the gun a silent one or what i can't understand.but it's a sad day in il. god bless the hudson family and may the killer be locked away forever.on the news it said the boys mom went to her room the hudson mom went to her room why didn't she hear the shots or screams.

Schuyler on October 27, 2008 5:02 PM
No child deserves this. I don't know how many children have to die before this violence stops. Julian, I hope you didn't suffer.

mags on October 27, 2008 5:06 PM
Where is Julia (Julian's mom) in all of this? I haven't heard or read anywhere facts regarding the mom's situation in this horrible crime. Was she supposed to be at her mom's house Friday when her mom and brother were killed, and her son taken from the home?

LH on October 27, 2008 5:08 PM
Thank you for making this story about the case and not about Jennifer Hudson's celebrity status. I was absolutely mortified to have read other articles that focused more on her career highlights than on the case itself! Situations like this unfortunately happen almost eeveryday it seems, and yes her status helped keep the case current in the news, but really her career highlights need not have been a part of ANY OF THE STORIES..completely irrelevant to the situation and a huge disrespect to the family to even focus on that part of her life during a time like this. I saw a timeline of her career history right in the middle of one article ...WHY??? WHAT DOES THAT HAVE DO WITH THE CASE!

My condolences to the family and friends of the family. My heart goes out ot Julians mother. Mother to mother...I do not personally know what you are going through, but in my heart I can feel what you are feeling. Your child is your life, and any mother knows that pain another mother feels when a child's life is taken.
In my thoughts and prayers....

JM on October 27, 2008 5:17 PM
This is such an incredibly sad story for the Hudson family. I realize that they are getting more press than many would have in the same situation, but maybe that is what it takes to shock people into reconsidering their murderous actions. I am so sorry for your family's horrible loss. This poor innocent child has paid the ultimate price, as well as the wonderful Hudson family. Please....find this killer and let the remaining family have at him. He lost his "rights" when he took these innocent victims lives. The worst, most painful death is what he deserves and nothing more. Prayers out to the Hudson family.

Mz. Trina on October 27, 2008 5:19 PM
MY CONDOLENCE goes out to Jennifer and her family. It's sad that people don't care about life anymore for them to go out and hurt people for no reason.I'm very upset cause I would like to know what in the world could a 7yr old do to any adult for them to do him like that. Again I just would like to say the Hudson family is in my prayers. I know it's hard to tell a person to look forward at a time like this. But Ms. Jennifer Hudson hold your head up honey and keep moving forward with your career.


patrick on October 27, 2008 5:21 PM
My heart goes out to the family. The truth will come out through the evidence but it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure it out. How anyone could take the life of a little kid is beyond comprenhension. I used to be for the death penalty, but putting the killer in prison in the general population looks pretty good to me.

To Jennefer and Julia on October 27, 2008 5:22 PM
May God comfort you during this difficult times. My prayers go up for you, my heart is in sorrow with you, my burdens are lightened because of you. My dear sisters, lean on God everlasting love, trust him that he will bring you through. I wish you strength and courage right now. May his peace be with you, may his love carry you, and his strength uphold you. The world is praying for you and we are in sorry with you.
Jennefer you give so many of us hope, you are truly a star. God has a lot more in good deeds in store for you. Hold your head up baby girl and you too Julia. You will get through and you are not alone. The world is full of good people who are uplifting you in prayer.
Muriel Johnson - Plano, TX

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