CHICAGO (AP) – Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew was found dead in the back of an SUV on Monday, ending a frantic search that began after the shooting deaths of her mother and brother three days earlier.
The singer and actress was among seven family members and close friends who cried and held hands as they identified Julian King’s body from a live image on a television screen at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office Monday afternoon.
Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the boy, like his grandmother and uncle, had been shot.
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said a motive remained unclear Monday but added, “It wasn’t a case of a stranger-type homicide.”
Police have characterized the slayings as “domestic related” and authorities have been questioning Julian’s stepfather, who has been estranged from the boy’s mother and is being held on a parole violation. No one has been charged in the slayings.
Julian’s body was found shortly after 7 a.m. in the rear seat of the SUV, which matched the one mentioned in an Amber Alert for the boy and was parked on the street in a neighborhood of brownstone homes and apartment buildings.
The vehicle was about 10 miles from the house where the other victims were found, which was where Julian lived and where Hudson grew up.
Hudson had offered $100,000 Sunday for information leading to the safe return of her nephew, the son of her sister, Julia Hudson.
Hudson’s publicist did not immediately return calls and e-mail messages Monday.
“Miss Hudson wanted to request privacy,” Cook County spokesman Sean Howard said after the family left the medical examiner’s office. “This is a very trying time for her and her family.”
Hudson’s aunt, Dorothy Hudson, said the Chicago funeral home she owns with her husband will handle arrangements for the family, but details were pending.
“We’re just sad. We’re going through this stage where we’re just sad and in shock,” Dorothy Hudson said.
The Amber Alert had listed William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, as a suspect in a “double homicide investigation.” He is not the boy’s father and has not been charged in the slayings.
Weis said Monday that Balfour “remains a person of interest.”
The chief said he was confident that with two crime scenes, investigators would find important clues.