Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson used a MySpace blog entry on Sunday to express her thanks and ask for aid in finding her missing 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, and information in the shooting deaths of her mother and brother.
"Thank you all for your prayers and your calls. Please keep praying for our family and that we get Julian King back home safely," the blog entry said. "If anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the authorities immediately ... Once again thank you all for being there for us through this tough time."
Late today Hudson announced, through her publicist, that she was offering a $100,000 reward for the return of her nephew Julian.
"Jennifer Hudson and her family are offering a reward of $100,000 for the safe return of her nephew Julian King who has been missing since Friday, October 24th," said the statement, released by Lisa Kasteler. "We ask that all inquiries be directed to the Chicago Police Department, Area 1 Detective Division at 312/747-8380. Jennifer and her family appreciate the enormous amount of love, support and prayers they have received while she and her family try to cope with this tragedy and continue the search for Julian."
An Amber Alert remained in effect today and Hudson's sister, Julia Hudson held a press conference Saturday to plead for her son's safe return.
In the impoverished South Side Chicago neighborhood where singer and actress Jennifer Hudson grew up and which she often credited for her success, her sister Julia Hudson stood fighting back tears and begging for the safe return of her 7-year-old son, Julian.
"All I ask, I don't care who you are, just let the baby go. Please," Julia Hudson said Saturday before a crowd from the podium of the Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church, where her sister sang as a child. "My biggest fear has already happened. My greatest hope is finding my child."
With Greg King, the boy's father, beside her, Julia Hudson expressed her belief that Julian was still alive and added that her brother's white truck was missing.
"I know he's out there," said Julia Hudson, who discovered the bodies of her mother and brother Friday at the family's Englewood home and soon realized her son was missing. "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."
An Amber Alert for Julian remains in effect, and the FBI has joined the search. Authorities have said Julian could be in a white Chevy Suburban.
"I just want my son. That's all I have to say. Please just let my baby go. He didn't do nothing to nobody, nobody. He don't deserve this," she said.
Autopsy results released Saturday showed that Jennifer Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and her brother, Jason Hudson, 29, died of gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Their deaths were ruled homicides.
The Balfour Connection
While Julia Hudson did not address her relationship with William Balfour, who was named in the Amber Alert after Julian's disappearance, the man, who has close ties to the family, remained in police custody. No one has been charged in the disappearance or murders, however.
"From what we know right now, it appears to be some type of domestic situation, but that's very preliminary," said Chicago Police Department superintendent Jody Weis.
Neighbors said Jennifer Hudson had urged her mother to leave her high-crime neighborhood, but, after having lived there for decades, her mom told her it was her home.
Balfour, who was paroled two years ago after serving seven years in jail for attempted murder and other crimes, has been referred to as Julia Hudson's estranged husband by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
His mother said he is innocent and had nothing to do with the tragic events.
"This is not my son that did this. You cannot say my child did this to that girl. He loved Julia. He loved Julia's mother. My God, he put that girl's mother before me," a very distraught Michelle Davis Balfour said.
Mourners have showed an outpouring of emotion outside the family, where the red Toyota Jennifer Hudson bought for her mother sits outside the house with a birthday card for the missing Julian in the backseat.
The tragic events come just before Jennifer Hudson was scheduled to embark on a world tour Monday to promote her self-titled debut album with its chart-topping single, "Spotlight."
Jennifer Hudson, whose star had been on the rise after she was ousted on season three of "American Idol," was featured in the summer blockbuster "Sex and the City" and stars in the upcoming film "The Secret Life of Bees."
In 2007 she hit superstardom with her debut film role in "Dreamgirls," earning a best supporting actress Academy Award for her role as rising singer turned down-and-out single mother Efie White -- a role Hudson said she always wanted to play.
The singer also recently announced her engagement to David Otunga, best known for his stint on VH1's reality show "I Love New York."