Chicago police are ruling the death of Jennifer Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew a homicide after the Cook County Medical Examiner announced Tuesday that he died from “multiple gunshot wounds.”
Julian King’s body was found early Monday in the rear of a stolen SUV parked in a neighborhood about 10 miles from his home. The likely time of death was not announced, so it remained unknown whether he was killed at the same time as his grandmother and uncle were, or after being abducted.
Lynette Louden, 47, said she called police about the SUV across the street from her home on Chicago’s West Side after her family’s Chihuahua started barking at it early Monday. Some neighbors said they hadn’t seen the vehicle before Monday, but Louden said it had been there since at least Saturday.
The discovery of King’s body concluded a search that began Friday, when Hudson’s 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson, and 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson were found shot to death at the home they shared.
On Monday afternoon, Jennifer Hudson was among seven family members and close friends who cried and held hands as they identified King’s body from a live image on a television screen at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, reports the Associated Press.
No one has been charged in the slayings, however, Julian’s stepfather, William Balfour, is being held on a parole violation and is referred to as a person of interest in the case. Balfour has been estranged from the boy’s mother, Julia Hudson,
Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil was held Monday night outside the Englewood home where the two bodies were found. Hundreds of people sang, held hands and cried as they contributed to an expanding memorial of stuffed animals, balloons and flowers. Among the songs sung by mourners was a rendition of Hudson’s hit single “Spotlight.”
“American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson have all expressed sadness over the tragedy.
“This is a horrific tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer and her entire family,” Abdul said Monday. “The time I had to get to know Jennifer and forge a wonderful friendship with her while she was on ‘Idol’ was very special to me, and I personally can’t imagine a greater loss for any family.”
Multiple engagements lined up this week to promote her new self-titled album and her latest film, “The Secret Life of Bees,” were all canceled Friday as her family tragedy unfolded.
An open casting call at the Apollo Theater for the 2009 national tour of Dreamgirls, which was set for this coming Saturday, has also been cancelled out of respect for Hudson. The entertainer won an Oscar for her portrayal of ousted girl-group singer Effie White in the 2006 film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with Ms. Hudson and her family at this tragic time,” producer John Breglio said Monday. “Due to this horrific tragedy, we feel this is not the time for a talent search for a role that is so closely connected with Ms. Hudson.”
Casting for the national Dreamgirls tour will now begin at the Apollo on Nov. 22.