CHICAGO – Police confirmed Wednesday they found a gun in a vacant lot around the corner from where Jennifer Hudson's nephew was found dead inside an SUV.
Deputy Chief Nick Roti says officers performing a grid search on Wednesday found a weapon in thick shrubs. He says the Illinois State Police crime lab is conducting further testing.
Police were intrigued by the discovery because it is a .45-caliber weapon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Tribune reported authorities compared the ammunition in the recovered gun with shell casings found at the murder scenes and determined they were the same make.
Roti also says some "small bits of evidence" were recovered, but he didn't elaborate and didn't take questions.
Dozens of police officers combed the blocked-off area on the city's South Side and searched through brush and trash.
View photos of the family and investigation
About a block away, balloons and teddy bears mark the spot where 7-year-old Julian King's body was found inside an SUV.
Documents show that a suspect in the murders of three members of Hudson's family was arrested for drug possession in June, but state officials didn't revoke his parole.
Parole records obtained by The Associated Press indicate that William Balfour missed a meeting with his parole agent on Friday. That's the day Hudson's mother and brother were murdered and her 7-year-old nephew vanished.
Balfour is the estranged husband of Oscar-winner Hudson's sister. He is being held on an unrelated parole violation and police have named him a person of interest. No one has been charged with the killings.
Hudson was among seven family members and close friends who cried and held hands as they identified 7-year-old Julian King's body from a live image on a television screen at the Cook County Medical Examiner's office Monday afternoon.
With two crime scenes, a suspect in custody and an outraged community, Chicago's top cop said he is confident investigators will find clues to solve the deaths of Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.
"I suspect we'll have some evidence that will link us to the killer," said Police Superintendent Jody Weis, adding that surveillance cameras throughout the city may have captured images that would help the investigation.
Weis said a motive remained unclear. Police have characterized the slayings as "domestic related" and authorities have been questioning Balfour. No one has been charged in the slayings.