The tragedy enveloping Jennifer Hudson's family took another grim turn when Chicago Police Department Superintendent Jody Weis confirmed that the body found in an SUV on Chicago's West Side on Monday morning (October 27) was that of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King.
An autopsy for the boy was scheduled to take place Tuesday, and Weis would not comment on whether the child was killed inside the vehicle or at the home in which Hudson's mother and older brother were found shot to death on Friday.
Hudson and her family had offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the boy's safe return on Sunday, but the prospects that the child had escaped harm became slim Monday with the discovery of the white Suburban that had been reported missing from the original crime scene. The vehicle was part of an Amber Alert for King that was canceled Monday morning when police were alerted to the SUV. Members of the Hudson family went to the medical examiner's office early Monday afternoon to identify the body of the boy, who had been missing since Friday.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police said the body of the young black male found in the SUV was shot once in the head in the backseat of the vehicle. Earlier, it was reported that bullet casings were found in the boy's room at the original crime scene on Friday, though Weis would not comment on that during Monday's press conference. Police were tipped off about the Suburban early Monday morning by a 75-year-old resident of the neighborhood, who told the Sun-Times that his dog had been barking unusually at the suspicious vehicle.
The Chicago Tribune reported that a car belonging to Hudson's slain brother, a 1994 white Chevrolet Suburban with Illinois license-plate number X584859, was reported missing from the crime scene, and the SUV containing the body of the boy matched that license-plate number. Weis said that Chicago police were "pretty optimistic" about solving the case, though no weapon has been recovered yet.
He also said it's possible that "other individuals" might turn up in connection with the case, though at press time the only person detained by police in the case is 27-year-old William Balfour, who denied involvement in the disappearance of the boy. Law-enforcement sources told the Tribune that after initially cooperating with police, Balfour had stopped talking to authorities.
Balfour, out on parole after serving a seven-year prison sentence for attempted murder and kidnapping, is the estranged husband of the missing boy's mother, Julia Hudson. Since being taken in for questioning, he has been transferred to a state facility for violating his parole, officials said. Police are testing Balfour's clothing for gunshot residue, the Sun-Times reports.
An unidentified police source told the Sun-Times that Balfour's alibi on the day of the killings has been contradicted by his pregnant girlfriend, who has been interviewed by police. Balfour was arrested at the girlfriend's home on Friday night, and a family friend said Balfour had recently threatened to take King away. A source said that police had tracked Balfour's whereabouts on the day of the slayings through his cell phone.
A neighbor who lives on the block where Balfour was arrested told the paper that he remembers seeing a man matching Balfour's description drive up in a white SUV and park on the block around noon on Friday, three hours after the slayings. The neighbor said the man reached into the glove compartment, got out of the car carrying what appeared to be a bottle of liquor and walked into the house where Balfour was later arrested. The Sun-Times also reported that police had been told that Balfour and Julia Hudson had been at the home that was the scene of the slaying earlier in the day Friday and may have argued, though Balfour's mother denied her son was at the Hudson home that day.