CHICAGO - Chicago police say singer and actress Jennifer Hudson has identified the body of her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, who was found dead in a sport utility vehicle. Julian was the focus of a desperate search since the Oscar winner's mother and brother were found shot to death in their home three days earlier.
Hudson had offered $100,000 Sunday for information leading to Julian's safe return. He is the son of Jennifer Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson. Chicago police are also investigating the deaths of the Oscar-winning actress' mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, who were found shot dead at their South Side home.
"We're just sad. We're going through this stage where we're just sad and in shock," Hudson's aunt, Dorothy Hudson, said Monday. Dorothy Hudson and her husband, John, own a Chicago funeral home that plans to handle arrangements for the family.
The tragedy comes as Hudson, who grew up in Chicago, continues to reach new heights in her career. In an interview last year with Vogue, Hudson credited her mother with encouraging her to audition for "American Idol," which launched her career.
The singer, whose father died when she was a teenager, described herself as very close to her family. In a recent AP interview she said her family, which includes older siblings Julia and Jason, helped keep her grounded.
"My faith in God and my family, they're very realistic and very normal, they're not into the whole limelight kind of thing, so when I go home to Chicago that's just another place that's home," she said. "I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mom I'm just Jennifer, (so she says), 'You get up and you take care of your own stuff.' And I love that; I don't like when people tell you everything you want to hear, I want to hear the truth, you know what I mean."
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press
Published by Chicago Tribune on Oct. 24, 2008.