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SINGER'S MUM AND BROTHER SHOT DEAD; Abuse at the centre of probe.

THE mother and brother of Jennifer Hudson were found shot dead at a South Side home, and police were looking for a missing child who is the nephew of the singer and Oscar-winning actress.

"We can confirmthat there is an ongoing investigation concerning the deaths of Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and her brother, Jason Hudson," Hudson's personal publicist, Lisa Kasteler, said in a statement.

"No further comment will be made and the family has asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time." Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the deaths appeared to be the result of domestic abuse.

The Cook County medical examiner's office said post-mortems for Ms Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, were pending.

Police were talking to "a number of people in custody", said Ms Bond.

Deputy Chief Joseph Patterson said a family member entered the home at around 3pm yesterday, found a woman shot on the living room floor and left to notify authorities.

Responding officers found a man shot in the bedroom, Mr Patterson said. There was no sign of forced entry.

Authorities issued a missing child alert for seven-year-old Julian King. The child was the grandson of the female victim, Mr Patterson said.

The alert said the child could be accompanied by a man named William Balfour - considered armed and dangerous - who was a suspect in the double homicide investigation.

Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show Mr Balfour, 27, who has not been charged with a crime, 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 Mr Balfour's addresses as the home where Ms Donerson and Jason Hudson were shot.

The tragedy comes as Jennifer Hudson continues to prosper.

Her song Spotlight is number one on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts and her recently released, self-titled debut album has been a top seller.

She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in Dreamgirls. 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 interview she 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.

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TRAGEDY: Actress and singing star Jennifer Hudson pictured top left, and above with her mother Darnell Donerson who was found shot dead along with the star's brother at a house in the South Side of Chicago, below
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 25, 2008
Words:465
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