Hudson: Help us find boy
Actress offers $100,000 reward
CHICAGO - Jennifer Hudson and her family offered a $100,000 reward yesterday for the safe return of her missing nephew, as investigators looked for forensic evidence near the home where her mother and brother were found shot to death.
Mourners milled outside the childhood home of the singer and Oscar-winning actress, along with investigators seeking clues to the whereabouts of 7-year-old Julian King, the son of Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia.
In a statement yesterday from publicist Lisa Kasteler, Hudson appealed to the public for help, offering the reward and asking that any information be given to Chicago police.
"Jennifer and her family appreciate the enormous amount of love, support, and prayers they have received while she and her family try to cope with this tragedy and continue the search for Julian," the statement said.
Chicago police intensified search efforts for Julian around the Englewood neighborhood, where Hudson grew up, and transferred custody of a "person of interest" in the killings to state authorities.
An Amber Alert remained in effect for Julian, who disappeared Friday, the day the bodies of his grandmother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and 29-year-old uncle Jason Hudson were found in the home they shared on the city's South Side. The deaths were ruled homicides.
The Amber Alert listed William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, as a person of interest in a "double-homicide investigation."
Police said they did not have a motive for the killings but called the case "domestic-related." A police spokeswoman said Balfour had not been charged.
"Detectives are working 24 hours on this case," said the spokeswoman, Monique Bond. "There's a lot of forensic evidence. We have to work the evidence and try and solve this case. Most importantly, we want to find the child."
Authorities said the search for Julian would be citywide, but residents and officers focused their efforts yesterday "in the immediate vicinity" of the home, said police spokesman Dan O'Brien.
Bond said no weapon had been found at the Hudson home, a three-story house sandwiched by vacant lots littered with trash. Investigators moved in and out of the home and examined the trash yesterday.
Mourners stopped by the home, many laying teddy bears along the chain link fence around the property. Others signed a cross on the fence.
"We love you," one message read. Another said, "We'll find the people who did this."
Police officers were instructed to place fliers with Julian King's picture and description in every business in the area.
Jennifer Hudson, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls," was in Chicago with her family during the weekend, her sister said.
The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed she had identified the bodies of her mother and brother.
Bond said Balfour, who had been in police custody since Friday, was transferred yesterday to the Illinois Department of Corrections "based on his active parole violation unrelated to this investigation."
Records from the Corrections Department show Balfour, 27, is on parole and spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking, and possession of a stolen vehicle.
It was unclear whether Balfour had an attorney yesterday, but his mother, Michele, has denied he was involved in the killings or in Julian's disappearance.