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Home that nurtured a star now harbors a calamity

Home that nurtured a star now harbors a calamity

The older sister of Jennifer Hudson made a plea at a Chicago church for the return of her missing 7-year-old son, a day after the siblings' mother and brother were found shot to death at the family home.
Julia Hudson made the plea Saturday for her son Julian King. He was reported missing Friday from the family's home. The mother and brother of the sisters were found shot to death the same day in the home.
An autopsy Saturday showed Darnell Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, died of gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Their deaths were ruled homicides.
Julia Hudson says that her famous sister flew to Chicago after learning the news. It wasn't clear whether the Oscar-winning actress and singer was at the church.
"I don't care who you are, just let the baby go," Julia Hudson said to a crowd from the podium of the Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church with the boy's father, Greg King, at her side. "I just want my son. He don't deserve this."
Authorities were holding a suspect with ties to the family, but no one had been charged Saturday. Law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times that William Balfour was in custody, and the man's mother said he is Julia Hudson's estranged husband.
Balfour was named in a police alert issued after Julian's disappearance. Julia Hudson did not comment on her relationship to Balfour.
The Hudsons, who have insisted on not allowing 27-year-old Jennifer's fame to alter their lives, lived in a three-story white house in Chicago bookended by vacant lots. A grill and bottle of mustard stood on the lawn on Saturday, remnants of the barbecues they were known to throw on birthdays and holidays.
"They wouldn't turn anyone away," said Bob Israel, who lives in the neighborhood. "They didn't want to change a bit."
Police said a family member entering Donerson's home Friday found a woman's body on the living room floor. Officers later found Hudson shot in the bedroom. At least one of the victims suffered defensive wounds, said authorities, who described the shooting as domestic violence.
That same day, Julia Hudson reported Julian King missing. Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond, who declined to comment Saturday on a suspect, said no one had been charged. She has said that investigators were talking to "a number of people in custody."
Bond said the FBI had been called to help in the search for the boy because he could have been taken across state lines.
Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show Balfour, 27, is on parole and spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle. Public records show one of Balfour's addresses as the home where Donerson and Jason Hudson were shot.
Balfour's mother, Michele Balfour, said that her son had been married to Julia Hudson for several years, but that they were separated. She also said Donerson had ordered him to move out of the home last winter.
Julia Hudson, 31, said that her famous sister was in Chicago on Saturday, a day after she called her in hysterics. Jennifer Hudson's fiance, who answered the phone, couldn't understand Julia Hudson and handed the phone to Jennifer.
"Despite her being who she is, she is still my sister," Julia Hudson said. "She understood what I was saying. She was screaming.
"She flew in right away, and we've been together since. We're all still in a state of shock. I don't know nothing else to do but pray."
Hudson, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls," talked of the influence of her family often.
In a recent AP interview she said her family helped keep her grounded because her fame hasn't changed them.
"My faith in God and my family, they're very realistic and very normal, 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," she said. "I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mom I'm just Jennifer."
The tragedy comes as Jennifer Hudson's star continues to rise. Her song "Spotlight" is No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts and her recent self-titled debut album is selling well. She was featured in this year's blockbuster "Sex and the City" movie and also stars in the hit film "The Secret Life of Bees."
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Associated Press writers Michael Tarm and Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-01 08:07 GMT+08:00