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Man detained in Hudson case held by state

Chicago police will not call William Balfour a suspect in the slayings. Authorities say he is in violation of parole.

October 27, 2008|Angela Rozas, Jeff Long and Emily S. Achenbaum | Rozas, Long and Achenbaum are reporters for the Chicago Tribune.

CHICAGO — A man detained by law enforcement after the Friday deaths of the mother and brother of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson was transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections on Sunday for violating his parole after he stopped cooperating with police, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Chicago police and the FBI continued to search for the actress' nephew, Julian King, 7, who was reported missing the same day his grandmother Darnell Donerson, 57, and uncle Jason Hudson, 29, were discovered shot to death.

On Sunday, Jennifer Hudson, 27, and her family offered a $100,000 reward for the safe return of her nephew, the Associated Press reported. In a statement, the actress-singer appealed to the public for its help, asking that any information be given to Chicago police.

Police fanned out into Englewood and surrounding neighborhoods, handing out fliers of the boy's photograph and a description of the white Chevrolet Suburban he may have been taken in, which belongs to Hudson's slain brother.

Julian is 4 feet 11 and weighs 130 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair and was last seen wearing a striped polo shirt and khakis. He is the son of Hudson's sister, Julia.

The man held by authorities, William Balfour, 27, is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister. He had been in questioning since Friday night and denied involvement in the double homicide or Julian's disappearance, law enforcement sources said.

However, he later decided to stop talking to authorities, the sources said. On Sunday morning, Balfour was transferred to an undisclosed state facility for violating conditions of parole on a 1999 conviction for attempted murder.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections said Balfour violated his parole because he is a suspect in the slayings and in Julian's disappearance. Chicago police declined to call him a suspect, and he has not been charged in the shooting deaths.

On her MySpace page, Jennifer Hudson's family thanked the public for its support and asked for help in finding Julian.

"Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely. If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately. Here is a picture of Julian and what he was last seen wearing. Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time. Sincerely, The Hudson Family."

Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show Balfour as on parole after having been convicted of attempted murder and car theft in 1999 and vehicular hijacking in 1998. He was released from prison in 2006 after a seven-year stint.

Meanwhile, at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side, Jennifer Hudson's second cousin, Krista Alston, 44, opened up Sunday about the crimes that have rocked her family.

"It is such a shock. It is like a tsunami comes through and leaves you devastated. God is still good," said Alston, who is assistant pastor at the church. She said she spoke with Jennifer Hudson on Friday and said her cousin was "holding up."

Alston said the family is grateful to the police and is confident in their search for the missing boy.

"Anybody -- we are pleading with you -- please release him. Take him to a hospital, drop him off somewhere. Please, please, in the name of Jesus, release him," Alston said.

There was no sign of Julian on Friday when a family member discovered hours later the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother at her childhood home.

Authorities believe the Friday shooting began with the gunman firing through the front door and striking Jason Hudson. The shooter then entered the home and continued firing, hitting his mother when she entered the room.

The Cook County medical examiner's office has ruled the deaths -- from gunshot wounds, it said -- as homicide.

Jennifer Hudson, who gained fame in 2005 as a contestant on "American Idol," won a 2007 Academy Award for her role in "Dreamgirls." She was in Florida promoting the new movie "The Secret Life of Bees" when she learned of the tragedy. She immediately went to Chicago, where she has remained over the weekend.

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