UPDATE: 10/28/08- WILLIAM BALFOUR SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN BEHIND BARS; READ HERE

Authorities in Chicago have confirmed that 27 year-oldWilliam Balfour, above, IS in police custody now, and is suspected in the double-homicide of singer-actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother today. Balfour is also suspected of abducting Hudson’s nephew, Julian King, age 7. An Amber Alert has been issued for the child, who is 5′ tall, 130 pounds, last seen wearing a tan polo shirt and khaki pants. Balfour is refusing to tell authorities where the boy is. The boy, who may have witnessed the murders, has not been found.

JULIAN KING, AGE 7, STILL MISSING

Police have described the murders as resulting from “domestic abuse.” AroundHarlem.com quotes a source in Chicago saying that the murders were committed as an act of revenge. “The Hudson family kicked someone out of a house. He said he’d be back to kill them.” At least one of the victims showed signs of a struggle. Suspect William Balfour’s address that is registered with authorities, is the address of Jennifer’s mother’s home. Neighbors in the area who know the family well say a few weeks ago a family member tried stealing a car, which triggered a heated argument in which the would-be thief promised revenge. No one was named specifically, but Balfour spent nearly 7 years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen vehicle. Balfour was released from the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton in May 2006.

On Julia’s MySpace page, recently posted a picture of Jason (one of the victims) in a vehicle. The caption below reads, “Jason picking up my ass from work, cause William bitch ass sold my car.”

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Balfour is on parole and has spent nearly seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1999. He’s 5-foot-5 and weighs 147 pounds. Authorities say he wears his hair in braids now. William Balfour’s Myspace page is here.

William Balfour listed Darnell’s house as his residence within the last year. Balfour’s mother, Michelle, said her son had been married to Hudson’s sister, Julia, for several years, but they were separated. She also said Donerson had ordered him to move out of the family’s home last winter. Paul Ciliano, a former Chicago police officer and CBS News consultant, said the Englewood neighborhood where the crimes were committed is “probably the toughest neighborhood in the city of Chicago.

“This is a notoriously violent area, the most shootings and car hijackings and tough-and-rumble place on the South Side of Chicago.” Ciliano said the first priority of the police right now is locating the missing boy. “That’s their focus. They have the suspect, the number one suspect (and only suspect as far as I know) in custody, so right now all their efforts are going towards finding and locating this child and getting him home safely. He said police are likely questioning Balfour’s acquaintances. “I’m sure they have gotten his cell phone and know everybody he has talked to or texted the last 28 to 48 hours.”

The heartbreaking news comes at a time when Jennifer Hudson has been on top of the world. Newly-engaged and coming off a show-stopping performance at the Democratic National Convention, her single “Spotlight” is on the top of the R&B charts, and her recently released, self-titled debut album has been a top seller. She was featured in this year’s “Sex and the City” movie and “The Secret Life of Bees.” She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her first film role, in “Dreamgirls”

See Snark Food’s previous detailed post on the murders for more information. Our prayers go out for Jennifer and her family, and that young Julian comes home safely. If you know of anything or anyone that has information on where Julian may be, please contact the Chicago Police Department at 312-745-6052.

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