Police found a handgun Wednesday matching the caliber of weapon used in the murders of actress Jennifer Hudson‘s three family members, providing a potential break in the case, law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune.
The gun was found in an alley just a block from the spot in North Lawndale where Hudson‘s 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found shot to death and left in the back seat of a white Chevy Suburban.
Although it is not uncommon to find guns stashed in public places where street gangs operate, police were intrigued by the discovery because it is a .45-caliber weapon. Police compared the ammunition in the recovered gun with shell casings found at the murder scenes and determined that they were the same make, a law enforcement source said.
Also, at least one witness claims to have seen someone driving a vehicle matching the white Suburban through the alley toss something from the window, a source said. The weapon was being tested to compare with ballistics taken from the murder scenes, police said.
There’s evidence there may have been another person involved in the murder of Hudson‘s mother, brother, and nephew, reports TMZ.com.
Investigators have honed in on William Balfour’s movements after the killings on Chicago’s South Side, according to the Chicago Tribune, and “are trying to determine” if someone else drove the prime suspect to the West Side, where the body of 7-year-old Julian King was found.
Witnesses have told cops they saw Balfour drive a teal Chrysler to the Hudsons’ block on Friday morning, and that car was eventually found about a mile away. The SUV in which Julian was discovered ended up about 13 miles away from the Hudson house.
The boy’s stepfather, Balfour, remains the primary suspect in the murders, police sources told The Chicago Sun-Times. He is the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, who lived in the home with her brother Jason, 29, and mother, Darnell Donerson, 57. Julia Hudson is Julian’s mother and the sister of Jennifer Hudson.
Balfour was taken into custody at a girlfriend’s home hours after the bodies were found. Sources say the girlfriend contradicted his alibi. Police say they’ve also caught him in at least one other lie. Police were able to track his whereabouts Friday through cell phone records, sources said.
Police Supt. Jody Weis identified the body found on Chicago’s West Side is that of 7-year-old Julian King. The identity of the body also was confirmed by the Cook County medical examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be done Tuesday, reports The Chicago Tribune.
The boy’s aunt, actress-singer Hudson and three other relatives went to the office and identified the body, authorities said.
Julian’s body was found in the back seat of the white Chevrolet Suburban police were looking for in their search for Julian, three days after Hudson’s mother and brother were found shot to death in the mother’s house in Englewood.
Law enforcement sources said that the boy was shot multiple times in the back of the vehicle.
The Oscar-winning actress’ brother-in-law William Balfour had been arrested over the double murder, and was being questioned by the police, but no charges have been filed.
The police have not named anyone as an official suspect. They have called Balfour “a person of interest.” Our law enforcement sources, however, have said Balfour is indeed the prime suspect.
On Sunday morning, Balfour was transferred to an undisclosed state facility for violating conditions of parole on a 1999 conviction for attempted murder. Police are testing Balfour’s clothing for gunshot residue.
According to law-enforcement sources, Balfour’s alibi the day of the killings has been contradicted by his girlfriend.
Hudson has posted a message on her MySpace page, thanking fans and friends for their words of support and appealing for help to find her missing 7-year-old nephew, according to TMZ.
Hudson reached out to her fans in an online message, accompanied by a picture of Julian King, who is believed to have been abducted at the time of the murder.
The message reads, “Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely. If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately. Here is a picture of Julian and what he was last seen wearing. Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time.”
Yesterday, Julia Hudson, the 31-year-old sister of the actress made a public plea at a Chicago church for the return of her son, AP reports.
Hudson’s sister spoke from the podium at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church alongside the boy’s father, Greg King, AP reports. She says her son “doesn’t deserve this.”
Hudson — who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her tremendous performance in Dreamgirls, and whose song “Spotlight” has hit the top of the R&B charts — credits her mother and family for keeping her grounded.
In a recent interview with AP, Hudson said: “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. 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?”