THE mother and brother of Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson have been found shot dead in the family’s Chicago home.
Last night police were looking for her seven-year-old nephew, who is missing.
Hudson’s publicist, Lisa Kasteler, confirmed that the victims were Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donnerson, 57, and her brother, Jason Hudson, 29.
The deaths appeared to be the result of a domestic incident, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. Police were talking to several people in custody.
Neighbours reported hearing gunshots at Mrs Donnerson’s home in the gritty Englewood neighbourhood on the city’s south side yesterday morning, but no one raised the alarm until Hudson’s sister Julia returned from work and discovered the bodies in the afternoon.
Authorities immediately issued an alert for a missing seven-year-old boy, Julian King. Police said the missing youngster might have been abducted and they initially thought that he was in the company of William Balfour, 27, a suspect in the double homicide.
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 on parole after serving 6½ years for attempted murder.
Police had issued a bulletin saying he could be driving a truck that belonged to Jason. He was later taken into custody, but the boy was still missing.
FOX News reported that Balfour was not co-operating with investigators and was not disclosing the whereabouts of the boy. Jennifer Hudson was reported to be flying home from Florida.
The singer, 27, shot to nationwide fame in 2004 on American Idol, the wildly popular television talent show, and in 2007 she earned an Oscar for supporting actress for her turn inDreamgirls, alongside Beyonce and Jamie Foxx.
She was in this year’s blockbuster Sex and the City movie, and in recent weeks had been promoting her latest film, The Secret Life of Bees.
In interviews, Hudson credited her mother with helping her launch her career and said her siblings kept her rooted and down to earth.
"My faith in God and my family, they’re very realistic and very normal," she said.
"They’re not into the whole limelight kind of thing, so when I go home to Chicago that’s just another place that’s home.
"I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mum, I’m just Jennifer."
Hudson recently announced her engagement to David Otunga, best known for his stint on the reality TV show I Love New York.
She had been scheduled to appear in Los Angeles tomorrow to collect an ensemble cast honour for The Secret Life of Bees with some of her co-stars.