October 24, 2008 / 10:32 PM / 9 years ago

Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother killed: reports

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<p>Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson performs at the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas June 6, 2008.Jessica Rinaldi</p>

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The mother and brother of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson were found shot to death in the mother's Chicago home on Friday, media reported.

Police said they were searching for a suspect in the double homicide and also a seven-year-old boy, possibly Hudson's nephew, who was missing from the house on Chicago's South Side where the victims were found.

The Chicago Tribune said one of the victims was Hudson's mother, Darnell Donnerson. The entertainment website TMZ, citing a neighbor, said Hudson's brother Jason also was found dead.

Police said neighbors reported hearing shots in the area during the morning but the bodies were not found until mid-afternoon.

"A missing child was possibly abducted from the scene ... and may be in the company of William Balfour, a suspect in the double homicide investigation," police said in a statement, adding that the man was "considered armed and dangerous."

The statement listed two vehicles Balfour may be driving. It did not say who Balfour was or whether he was related to the family.

Police said the child was identified as Julian King, adding they believed he was the grandson of the woman found slain.

The Tribune, quoting police, said the killings may be linked to a domestic disturbance.

Hudson gained notice as a contestant on No. 1-rated U.S. television talent show "American Idol" during its third season in 2005. She was one of 12 finalists but was voted off.

Still, her booming voice and popularity kept her touring in live shows and eventually she earned the role as Effie White in the 2006 film version of stage musical "Dreamgirls."

The role of soulful singer White, who is kicked out of an all-girl 1960s singing group, earned Hudson the Oscar for best supporting actress and made her an instant star in Hollywood.

Since then Hudson has appeared in the movie version of "Sex and the City," and is currently in "The Secret Life of Bees."

Media reports said Hudson was in Florida when she was told of the shootings and was headed back to Chicago.

Reporting by Michael Conlon in Chicago and Bob Tourtellotte in Los; Editing by Philip Barbara

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