Jennifer Hudson's Mom Found Shot to Death

57-year-old Darnell Donerson, mother of the Oscar winner, was one of two adults found dead in a Chicago home

By Natalie Finn Oct 25, 2008 1:05 AMTags
Darnell Hudson, Jennifer HudsonJim Spellman/WireImage

A nightmare for this Dreamgirl.

Sources confirm to E! News that Jennifer Hudson's mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, was found dead Friday afternoon in a house on the South Side of Chicago that is listed in Donerson's name.

Officer John Mirabelli of the Chicago Police Department tells E! that officers were called to a house in the 7000 block of Yale Avenue in the neighborhood of Englewood, where just before 3 p.m. they discovered two unresponsive adults—one male, one female—who had apparently been shot to death.

The shooting is at this time believed to be domestic, according to police. Various reports are claiming that the other victim was Hudson's older brother, Jason Hudson.

A 7-year-old boy named Julian King has also been reported missing, but authorities aren't confirming whether he's a relative of Jennifer Hudson.

Per the Chicago Tribune, police are looking for a white 1994 Chevrolet Suburban registered to Jason Hudson with Illinois license plate No. X584859. They say the boy could be inside and an Amber Alert has been issued.

A rep for the Cook County Medical Examiner told E! that the female victim was shot in the head, while a 29-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.

Mirabelli could not confirm the victims' identities, but a source close to Jennifer Hudson confirmed that an initial local-TV report identifying Donerson as a victim, based on information provided by a representative of the family's church, Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist, was true.

A large crowd had gathered outside the home, where police tape was blocking all comers from getting too close. According to the Cook County Assessor's Office, Donerson purchased the 1,910-square-foot house in 1996.

AP Photo/Mark Carlson

E! has learned that Jennifer Hudson was in Florida when she heard the news and is currently en route to Chicago. In happier times, she had been planning to go to Japan Monday to promote her new album, but that trip has been canceled.

The Secret Life of Bees star had also been set to appear next week at the Hollywood Awards to help collect an ensemble cast honor.

"Everyone at Fox Searchlight and Twentieth Century Fox wishes to extend our deepest condolences to Jennifer and her family," the Bees studio said in a statement Friday evening. "Our thoughts are with them in this time of profound sadness."

"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," Hudson, who got engaged last month to boyfriend David Otunga, said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.

"I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mom I'm just Jennifer, [so her mother tells her], '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?"

The Oscar winner purchased a posh condo on Chicago's North Side in 2006 for $537,500. Her digs were featured on the Sept. 28 season premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition when she offered decorating advice for a young girl's new bedroom.

—Additional reporting by Ashley Fultz, Jason Kennedy, Marc Malkin and Claudia Rosenbaum

(Originally published Oct. 24, 2008 at 3:07 p.m. PT)