*Chicago police confirmed Friday that the gun found Wednesday in a vacant lot on the West Side was the firearm used in the murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.
"The weapon has been positively identified through forensic examination as the weapon that was used in the homicides," said police Superintendent Jody Weis, according to the Associated Press.
Police were "extraordinarily pleased and satisfied" the weapon had been identified, but much work remained in the case, Weis said.
The .45-caliber gun was discovered in the same neighborhood where the body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew Julian King was found a few days earlier inside an SUV. The bodies of Hudson's 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson and her 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson were discovered in the family's home last Friday.
A police official has said detectives believe Julian King was alive when he left the house where his relatives were killed and likely was shot in the SUV where his body was found. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that King's body was covered by a curtain which may explain why it took three days to locate his body.
The SUV, a white Chevrolet Suburban, was registered to Jason Hudson. Sources told the Sun-Times that Jason had a gunshot wound in his leg that he suffered before he was slain. Investigators are trying to determine how he got that wound and whether the circumstances of that shooting figure into his murder.
Nobody has been charged in the killings, but 27-year-old William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, is in custody on a parole violation. Police have called him a "person of interest."
A public memorial for the three victims was held Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church, where Hudson's sister Julia made an emotional plea for her son Julian's return the day after he disappeared. Jennifer and Julia not attend the community memorial.
Private funeral services for Hudson's mother, brother and nephew are to be held this afternoon at Apostolic Church of God on Chicago's South Side from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. before being open to the public.
To help other victims of violent crime, the Hudson sisters have established the Hudson-King Foundation.
"The specific purpose of the Foundation is to care for the needs of families who have lost relatives to a violent crime," the family says in a statement. "This encompasses their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter as well as grief counseling."
Donations to the Hudson-King Foundation can be sent:
c/o Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP
Attn: William L. Abrams, Esq.
237 West 35th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001