Actress Jennifer Hudson has often credited her rise to fame to her upbringing in the impoverished neighborhood on Chicago's South Side where she went to grade school and sang in church.
At that church, her sister pleaded for the safe return of her 7-year-old son, Julian, on Saturday, a day after the siblings' mother and brother were found shot to death at the family home in the Englewood neighborhood.
“I don't care who you are, just let the baby go,” Julia Hudson said to a crowd at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church with the boy's father, Greg King, at her side.
“I know he's out there,” she pleaded. “Just let him go. Put him on the side of the street. He'll sit there. Somebody will see him. He'll probably cry until somebody comes along.”
Authorities were holding a suspect with ties to the family, but no one had been charged Saturday. Law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times that William Balfour was in custody, and the man's mother said he is Julia Hudson's estranged husband.
An autopsy Saturday showed Darnell Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, died of gunshot wounds. Their deaths were ruled homicides.
Police said a family member entering Donerson's South Side home Friday found a woman's body on the living room floor. Officers later found Jason Hudson shot in the bedroom. .
That same day, Julia Hudson reported Julian King missing.
On Saturday, neighbors and friends gathered outside the three-story Hudson home and scoured the neighborhood to look for the child.
Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the FBI had been called to help search for the boy on “the possibility or any theory” that he could have been taken across state lines.
Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show Balfour, 27, is on parole and spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle. Public records show one of Balfour's addresses as the home where Donerson and Jason Hudson were shot.
Jennifer Hudson, who won a 2007 Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “Dreamgirls,” talked of her family often. In a recent interview, the 27-year-old former “American Idol” contestant said her family 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.