October 25, 2008 / 4:24 AM / 9 years ago

Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother killed - reports

3 Min Read

Singer Jennifer Hudson sings the national anthem on the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado in this August 28, 2008 file photo.Eric Thayer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The mother and brother of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson were found shot to death in the mother's Chicago home on Friday, according to published reports.

The Chicago Tribune Web site quoted a police source as saying the suspect in the double homicide was in custody, but a 7-year-old boy, possibly Hudson's nephew, was still missing from the house on Chicago's South Side, where the victims were found. Police did not confirm the report or the names of the victims.

The Tribune said the Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the victims as Hudson's mother, Darnell Donnerson, 57, and her brother Jason Hudson, 29.

Police said neighbors reported hearing shots in the area during the morning, but the bodies were not found until midafternoon.

"A missing child was possibly abducted from the scene ... and may be in the company of William Balfour, a suspect in the double homicide investigation," police said in a statement, adding that the man was "considered armed and dangerous."

The statement listed two vehicles Balfour may be driving. It did not say who Balfour was or whether he was related to the family.

The Illinois Department of Corrections Web site lists Balfour, 27, as having been convicted of attempted murder, car theft and vehicular hijacking. He was released from prison in 2006.

Police said the child was identified as Julian King, adding they believed he was the grandson of the woman found slain.

The Tribune, quoting police, said the killings may be linked to a domestic disturbance.

Hudson gained notice as a contestant on No. 1-rated U.S. television talent show "American Idol" during its third season in 2005. She was one of 12 finalists, but was voted off.

Still, her booming voice and popularity kept her touring in live shows and eventually she earned the role as Effie White in the 2006 film version of stage musical "Dreamgirls."

The role of soulful singer White, who is kicked out of an all-girl 1960s singing group, earned Hudson the Oscar for best supporting actress and made her an instant star in Hollywood.

Since then Hudson has appeared in the movie version of "Sex and the City," and is currently in "The Secret Life of Bees."

Media reports said Hudson was in Florida when she was told of the shootings and was headed back to Chicago.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Stern in Chicago and Bob Tourtellotte in Los Angeles)

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