From the Amber Alert for Julian King, age 7 (linked below):
jking.jpgMissing From: Chicago, IL
Missing Date: 10/24/2008 12:00 AM
Issued for: Illinois: Statewide
Contact: If you have information, please contact Chicago Police Department, 911
Circumstances: The Chicago Police Department have a confirmed child abduction that occurred at 7019 S Yale, Chicago, IL. Julian King is a male black, 7 years old, 4 feet 11 inches, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a brown polo shirt with stripes and khaki pants. Suspect vehicle is a white 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, Illinois registration, X584859. Anyone with information should call 9-1-1 and advise they have an Amber Alert report. This concludes this Amber Alert issued by the Illinois State Police.

Julian is the nephew of Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson. Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, and older brother Jason Hudson were found murdered in their South Side Chicago home yesterday.
The suspected killer in this case, 27-year-old William Balfour, is in police custody. Police believe Balfour abducted King, his stepson, but the little boy wasn’t with the suspect when Balfour was arrested. Balfour has been somewhat cooperative with the police, but King’s whereabouts are still unknown.
The True Crime Report was the first publication to reveal William Balfour’s “Flexamillion_1” MySpace yesterday. Balfour’s page showed his last login was in June of this year, and it said, “FLEX in jail.” No surprise there, since Balfour, according to numerous Chicago-area reports, has an extensive criminal history.
On his page, Balfour bragged about his famous connection: “I might as well let you all know that Jennifer Hudson is my wife’s sister[,] I’m proud of her and wish her nothing but the best in what she do[,] but don’t hit me up asking about her…”
Reports aired on MSNBC this morning indicated that Jennifer Hudson is very close to her nephew — he’s practically a surrogate son. If you think you think you have any information regarding Julian King’s location, do as the Amber Alert says and call 911 or the Illinois State Police. [Amber Alert Case]


Jennifer Hudson performing “And I am Telling You” at a Grammy Party.
UPDATE
According to the Chicago Tribune, suspect William Balfour (aka “Flex” — see below) is in custody. Balfour is being questioned. There is no word on the whereabouts of 7-year-old Julian King, who was abducted from the Darnell Hudson Donerson’s home on Friday morning.
Original Post
Academy Award winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother have been found murdered in their South Side Chicago residence.
Hudson’s mother Darnell Donerson, age 57, and Hudson’s brother Jason Hudson were found just before 3 p.m. CT today.
An Amber Alert has been issued for Hudson’s nephew, Julian King, age 7. The boy may have been taken from the home by someone driving a 1994 white Chevy Suburban, Illinois plate #X58 4859. Chicago ABC affiliate WLS reports that King “has been missing since Friday morning.” King may have been kidnapped by William Balfour, who is also a suspect in the murders of Donerson and Jason Hudson.
This is Balfour’s MySpace:
http://www.myspace.com/flexamillion_1.
balfourflex.jpgBalfour called himself “Flex” and wrote the following in his “About me”: “I AM A 26 YEAR OLD, I RESIDE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO, I HAVE A WIFE HER NAME IS JULIA, AND I ALSO HAVE A 6 YR OLD STEPSON, I DON’T TOLERATE BULLSHIT, SO DON’T COME TO ME WITH IT, I LIKE TO LIVE LIFE AND EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING THATS WHY I’M HERE SEEING WHAT IT’S ABOUT, I MIGHT AS WELL LET YOU ALL KNOW THAT JENNIFER HUDSON IS MY WIFE’S SISTER I’M PROUD OF HER AND WISH HER NOTHING BUT THE BEST IN WHAT SHE DO BUT DON’T HIT ME UP ASKING BOUT HER, OTHER THAN THAT IT’S ON!”
Police told WLS that neighbors reported hearing gunfire sometime between 8 and 9 this morning.
TMZ has tracked down some key details in this story — apparently Jennifer Hudson’s cousin found the bodies and alerted authorities. Also, they found that William Balfour is on parole after serving time in jail for attempted murder. (Note on his MySpace, it says, “FLEX in jail.”)
Jennifer Hudson was reportedly in Tampa when she got the terrible news. She is en route to Chicago.
WJBC has the Amber Alert for Julian King. From the Alert: “Police believed seven-year-old Julian King was abducted from the home of Hudson’s mother by 27-year-old William Balfour, who they say may be armed and dangerous. Police say Balfour could be in one of two vehicles. They say he could be driving a 1994 white Chevrolet Suburban SUV with license plate X584859. He also may be driving a teal green 1994 Chrysler Concorde with temporary license plate 332K823…”
[NBCChicago.com and WLS. See also: WBBM 780.]
Below: A pdf-like copy of William Balfour’s MySpace page.

***FINAL UPDATE***
Ashley made it all up. She’s confessed. From KDKA.com: “Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter “B” in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.”
Ashley Todd will face charges.
ANOTHER UPDATE, 1:15 p.m. ET
I changed the post time on this entry to put it at the top of the blog’s main page because this information is interesting, if nothing else. This is the Xanga journal Ashley Todd kept up until February, 2006: xanga.com/ISeeTallPplRabbitDb8r.
It seems that while keeping that journal, Todd was a chain-smoking metal head who was, admittedly, really enjoying what must have been her first year in college, majoring in — what else? — poli sci.
Then there’s this: KnowBS.org.
It’s a site Todd began with others. According to one post there, she was supposed to be the “content manager.” She posted the URL in her profile at Cross-X.com, a forum for “debate on the Web.” Ashley Todd posted there as “thelilwhiterabbit.” She had more than 650 posts to her credit as of this morning.
As for Ashley Todd being part of a start-up web site about politics called “Know B.S.,” well… I don’t really need to point out the irony there, do I?
**UPDATE**
In an interview on MSNBC, Pittsburgh reporter Jerome L. Sherman just stated that Ashley Todd also told police that she’d been sexually assaulted. Here’s Sherman’s article in the Post-Gazette. Money quote from the article: “Yesterday, [Todd] said the man sexually assaulted her, a detail that police said she didn’t mention in the initial report.”
Curiouser and curiouser.
Original Post
bvictim.jpgIt’s probably a good idea to make a little list of some of the more important aspects of the story about the alleged assault on McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd. The following isn’t intended to be comprehensive. It is intended to support my contention that Todd’s story is a big, steaming pile of b.s.
— Speaking on-air to MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer, police spokesperson Diane Richard said that police asked Ashley Todd to take a lie detector test. Todd did so. Richard would not reveal the results. Richard also said that details of Todd’s story have changed in her talks with police.
— According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (linked below), the student from College Station, TX said her attacker “sat on her chest, pinning both her hands down with his knees and used what she believed was a dull knife with a roughly 5-inch blade to carve the B.” A very carefully-rendered but somehow backwards B, to boot.
— Todd didn’t report the crime immediately. She went to a friend’s residence, one mile from the scene of her alleged mugging. I can’t figure out what universe you have to come from for this aspect of the story to make any sense at all.
— That friend says Ashley Todd “went to an unknown hospital on her own” some time after midnight. Emphasis added.
— A police Commander named Larry Ross told Pittsburgh reporters that Todd didn’t make any reference whatsoever to her McCain bumper sticker when she first made a report to the police. Ross said, “I don’t know how she came to the conclusion that he noticed the sticker.”
— People working at businesses close to the scene, according to the Post-Gazette, “were unaware of the attack.”
Blogging for Salon.com, Alex Koppelman uncovered some additional interesting details about Ashley Todd. Alex writes, “This isn’t the first time this year that Todd has claimed to be involved in an election-related incident. Earlier this month, she posted to YouTube a video she shot of a janitor at New York’s Queens College. In it, she says, “this janitor took down all of my signs… and tore them apart… I am really perturbed. He closed off the bathrooms and is making it very hostile.” The janitor shown in the video just happens to be a tall, well-built black male. Much like Todd’s alleged attacker in Pittsburgh.
So far, I’ve only read one statement from a good source that lends anything resembling credibility to Ashley Todd’s story. It was in the article published by the Post-Gazette: “[Police Cmdr Larry Ross] said the description of the robber as a 6-foot 4-inch, 200-pound black man is similar to that of a man who robbed a Liberty Avenue bank in recent weeks.” That’s it. And that’s not much, is it?
The other shoe on this story hasn’t hit the floor yet, but I hear it whooshing through the air. The next big question to answer: will Ashley Todd eventually be arrested for filing a false report?
I wouldn’t be surprised, but you just never know.
What this young woman needs is help. She has a problem, and it’s about to become unmanageable for her. I almost feel sorry for Ashley Todd. Almost.
Also on True Crime Report:
Insanity and Politics: McCain Supporter Attacked in Pittsburgh.”
Will Ashley Todd’s Story Implode Tomorrow?
[Post-Gazette.com via the execrable TMZ.]

caseymanthony.JPGProsecutors in Orange County, FL have made public the results of forensic tests performed in the investigation into the disappearance of Orlando-area toddler Caylee Anthony. The tests were performed by the FBI and the National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN.
Items from the Pontiac Casey Anthony abandoned after her daughter’s disappearance were tested. They included hair and a trunk liner. Some of this has already been made public, but here ya go:
— It was apparent from the root of the hair found in the Pontiac’s trunk that the owner of that hair was in a state of decomposition when the hair was shed. Which is a long way of saying the hair came from a corpse. DNA from both Casey and Caylee didn’t exclude either one as the source of the DNA. Casey’s alive and in jail, charged with first-degree murder, so…
— There was chloroform residue found in the trunk. Chloroform, which can put you into a deep sleep, or kill you, depending on the amount used. The tests indicated that there was “an unusually large concentration” of the substance in the trunk.
— Air from the trunk of the Pontiac was tested at Oak Ridge. From the Orlando Sentinel: “A portion of the total odor signature from the trunk ‘is consistent with a decompositional event that could be a human origin.'”
Casey and her family still insist little Caylee was taken by a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez. Casey’s family still appear regularly on national TV to vocally defend her. Most folks familiar with the story still don’t buy it all. [OrlandoSentinel.com. And while you’re at it, check out my friend Willoughby Mariano’s “Orlando Homicide Report.“]

In April this year, at The True Crime Weblog, I wrote “All-American Girl: The Murder of Meghan Landowski.” Landowski, a 16-year-old sophomore at Woodrow Wilson High in Portsmouth, VA, was found stabbed to death in her home last April. There’s finally been an arrest in the case. Portsmouth police have taken a 17-year-old into custody. He’s been charged with first-degree murder. The teen’s name hasn’t been revealed due to his age, but the D.A. prosecuting the case, Earle Mobley, says he will seek to charge the teen as an adult. [DailyPress.com]


Several pages from Ashley Todd’s MySpace blog.
***FINAL UPDATE, 1:45 p.m., 10/24/08***
Ashley Todd made it all up. She’s confessed. From KDKA.com: “Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter “B” in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.”
Ashley Todd will face charges.
Original Story
There seems to be a growing, bipartisan consensus online that Ashley Todd may not be telling the truth. The 20 (or 23) year-old from College Station, Texas told police in Pittsburgh, PA she was mugged and assaulted Wednesday night at an ATM in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood. You can read all about that here: “Insanity and Politics: McCain Supporter Attacked in Pittsburgh.
Todd kept a blog on her now-locked MySpace. A copy of the blog’s main page as it appeared on August 10, 2008 is embedded above. This passage from an entry posted July 1, 2008 jumped out at me: “Thankfully my closest of friends have assured me that when I finally am a victim of political assassination or brutal murder for running my mouth, that they will be honest at my funeral.”
Todd obviously has a strong interest in politics. She was in Pittsburgh to do some sort of work for the McCain/Palin campaign, and one of her “General” interests on her MySpace profile is “Ron Paul 2008.” So — the joke about “political assassination” makes sense, since she might have ambitions to run for office in the future.
But the statement I quoted above is interesting because it parallels what Ashley Todd says happened to her on Wednesday night. Todd told Pittsburgh police that her mugger robbed her of $60 at knifepoint. Then, according to her, he noticed that she had McCain bumper stickers on her car. The mugger — whom Todd described as a 6’4″, 200 lb black man in dark clothing — started talking smack to the woman he’d robbed and she says he beat her with his fists and feet. Todd says he carved that mysterious backwards “B” in her cheek, seen in this photo.
In essence, a routine mugging turned into a politically-motivated assault because of what Ashley’s alleged mugger perceived to be “statements” from her, as evidenced by the bumper stickers on her vehicle. Bumper stickers, particularly stickers related to political campaigns, are a form of using one’s car to run one’s mouth. And an attacker carving a “B” in a woman’s face for McCain bumper stickers would be a case of the victim having been assaulted for essentially running her mouth.
It really isn’t a stretch to say that there’s an eerie echo in Ashley’s off-the-cuff blog post from last July in what she says happened to her. Luckily, she wasn’t “assassinated” or murdered.
I say “luckily.” I suppose I’m being kind, because that implies Ashley Todd could be telling the truth. I don’t believe she is.
Now the police say they want the young woman to take a polygraph, because her “statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred.”
Seems like the narrative is about turn on this politically involved young woman from Texas. After reports of the assault hit the news — aided by feverish headlines from Matt Drudge — Ashley Todd reportedly received calls from both Sarah Palin and John McCain, expressing sympathy.
If her story is indeed entirely made up, she’s made them look like fools. In fact, she made the Obama campaign look a foolish for buying her line of bull, as well, since the Democratic candidate’s people issued a statement roundly condemning this crime and saying they hoped “that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
Ashley Todd may not have had any clue as to what she was doing when she reported this “crime.” At 20 (or 23 — the age given on her MySpace profile) a lot of people still have very little ability to govern their impulses or predict the outcome of their actions.
If Todd didn’t have a clue then, she may have one now. She’s made her Twitter feed and MySpace private, acts that smell like retreat. If she goes through with the polygraph, I will be utterly amazed. My prediction is that a lawyer will become involved and start pointing the finger back at the Pittsburgh police. The case will linger until after the election, when some sort of arrangement will quietly be made between Ashley Todd and the authorities — she’ll get off with a fine for false reporting, perhaps.
If I’m wrong, I’ll get in the line to apologize. Along with Michelle Malkin.
Extra link of interest, via Ms. MalkinGoogle’s cache of Ashley Todd’s Facebook. Not much to see, but there ya go.
Also on True Crime Report:
Putting Ashley Todd’s Story Out With The Trash.
Insanity and Politics: McCain Supporter Attacked in Pittsburgh.”

***FINAL UPDATE, 1:45 p.m., 10/24/08***
Ashley Todd made it all up. She’s confessed. From KDKA.com: “Police sources tell KDKA that a campaign worker has now confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter “B” in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker.”
Ashley Todd will face charges.
Be sure to read the updates at the bottom of this post. I’ve published two more entries about this case:
“Will Ashley Todd’s Story Implode Tomorrow?”
Putting Ashley Todd’s Story Out With The Trash.”

Original Post
genericrimescenephoto.jpgPolice in the Bloomfield area of Pittsburgh, PA say a 20-year-old Ashley Todd may have been viciously assaulted because she had a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on her car. Sounds like it began as a routine robbery; the robber pulled a knife, Todd gave him sixty bucks. Then the criminal saw the McCain bumper sticker on the woman’s car. He beat Todd with his hands and fists. Then, bizarrely, he used his knife to scratch a “B” on her face. Police told local Pittsburgh media that Todd refused treatment.
One Pittsburgh news outlet says only that Ashley Todd had the bumper sticker on her car. Another, the Post-Gazette, described the victim as a “McCain staffer” from Texas. The paper also quoted police spokesperson Diane Richards, who said authorities couldn’t “substantiate” Todd’s story, yet.
bvictim.jpgThe suspect is said to be a 6’4″, 200-lb African-American male. He was wearing dark clothing.
The robbery wasn’t captured on the bank’s security cameras.
According to the Pittsburgh Channel, the Obama campaign has issued a statement about the attack, saying that their “thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
CBS 13 published a report online stating that the Republican candidate for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, “spoke with the victim by phone.” The McCain campaign has issued their own statement about the crime, calling it “sick and disgusting.”
This crime is so bizarre and potentially politically-charged it’s already produced a screaming, bold-red headline at the Drudge Report. Be prepared to hear a lot more about it.
atodd2.jpgEdited To Add: In the comments below, “Happy” gave this link for the cached MySpace of an Ashley Todd from College Station, TX. She gives her age as 23, but otherwise, she appears to resemble the victim in this case. The headline on this Ashley Todd’s now-private profile reads, “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths off, but its better if you do” — a riff on a song by Panic! at the Disco, but an interesting choice anyway. It may be the wrong Ashley Todd, but the shape of her face and hair seem similar. I’ve also saved a copy of the page. Also, thanks to my fellow crime blogger Chris, we have what appears to be a link to a Twitter account for the same Ashley Todd.
Click the thumbnail of a screen capture of that Twitter account above and read it. It appears to be a narrative covering her arrival in Pittsburgh, her search for an ATM, and an allusion to what happened afterwards. You be the judge as to how believable it is — or not.
ETA II, Electric Boogaloo: If you want to read some of Ashley Todd’s blogging between 2006 and 2008 or so, just click this — copy of blog.myspace.com/rabbitrocker. Based on political views, name, age range, and home town, it seems clear that “rabbitrocker” Ashley is the same Ashley Todd who reported the bizarre mugging in Pittsburgh last night.
**UPDATE**
Just in case you think it’s only people in the center and on the left of center who doubt this story, read this post by popular, arch-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. Whatever you think about Malkin’s politics, she is anything but stupid. Malkin writes:
“I’ve reported on the great lengths that warped attention-seekers have gone to in perpetrating fake hate crimes, including beating themselves up, carving swastikas on their dorm room doors and walls, locking themselves in bathroom stalls, and burning down their own houses.
“Which is why I’m not jumping up and down with outrage over Drudge-promoted story of a McCain volunteer claiming to have been attacked by a black man whom she accused of carving a “B” in her face after spotting her McCain bumper sticker.”
Michelle Malkin’s perceptions are dead-on. And Ashley Todd’s contrived Twitters from last night as well as her strange MySpace headline about “lying” all lend support to the idea that she could be, as Malkin put it, one of those “warped attention-seekers.” The other shoe on this story will drop by tomorrow, and any sympathy left for Ashley Todd on the right or the left will dry up immediately. I admit it now — I began doubting the story almost immediately, but I held my fire till now. I knew I might be right when friends who are McCain supporters began to express their own doubts. Malkin’s skepticism seals it, though — this story is hogwash.
**Last Update for this post**
A reader pointed out some interesting things about the Google cache of Ashley Todd’s MySpace:
— She was pulling for Ron Paul at one point. Just look at the page. This may not be significant, but I figured it was worth a mention.
— Her last login was October 17, last Friday. The page has only been made private in the last 6 days, otherwise Google couldn’t have cached it. My guess is that she made it private after reporting the “mugging.”
— Something I noticed, which isn’t related to this at all — I get the impression she either knew or was friends with murder victim Ashton Glover, based on a video embedded in the page dedicated to Ashton. I only noticed this because one of the last articles I wrote for Court TV’s (now TruTV’s) Crime Library was about Ashton’s murder, which took place 2 years ago in Sugar Land, TX.
Also, from reader “ruth G,” there’s this late development: “Police planned to administer a polygraph test to Ashley Todd, 20, because her statements about the attack conflict with evidence from the Citizens Bank ATM where she claims the incident occurred, police said.” Emphasis was added.
Go figure.
[ThePittsburghChannel.com, PittsburghLive.com. Also of interest — related Twitter search.]

paigelevi.jpgSometimes with missing persons cases there may not be a crime involved, per se. But there still can be a great sense of urgency.
Such is the case with the disappearance of Missouri teens Christina “Paige” Alley, age 14, and her boyfriend, 16-year-old Levi Carlson. Levi and Paige left a football game in Lathrop, Missouri on Friday, October 17, 2008, and no one has seen them since.
Missouri authorities have issued an Amber Alert for Paige Alley. Levi Carlson was originally included as a “victim” in the Alert, but has since been termed a “suspect.”
A website has been set up, as well: http://www.paigeandlevi.com/. From the site’s main page: “Neither Paige or Levi have a Driver’s License or much experience driving a motor vehicle. Levi is known to be bi-polar and off his meds. He has threatened suicide, but is not known to have a weapon.”
The couple apparently left the game in Lathrop after some sort of “altercation with parents.”
If the teens are traveling, they may be headed towards Colorado, eventually California. According to information published on PaigeandLevi.com, Levi “always wanted to be a ‘rock star’ in California.” Levi has also reportedly said in the past “wanting to live in the wild in Colorado to fish and hunt, etc.”
If Levi is truly bipolar and unmedicated, he could be either in a manic, delusional state, or spiralling towards a suicidal depression. And then there’s the Romeo & Juliet aspect of being young lovers on the run. No one can ignore the fact that Shakespeare’s romance ended in death.
It is urgent that someone find these two and get Paige home and perhaps get Levi some help. If you know anything that can help bring Paige Alley and Levi Carlson safely home again, call the Clinton County, MO Sheriff’s Office at 816-539-2156. You can also call 911.
To track developments in the case, keep an eye on PaigeandLevi.com.

Plainville, MA teenager Taylor Meyer drowned the night she disappeared. That’s the conclusion of a Massachusetts ME — there is no evidence of foul play. Taylor, 17, was inebriated on the Friday night she vanished, and drowned in the swamp near the abandoned Norfolk Airport. [turnto10.com]

wku.jpgWestern Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY is currently under lockdown. There have been reports of a gunman on campus. One portion of the campus has been evacuated by local police and the Kentucky State Police. The shots were reportedly fired on the main campus at WKU at Pearce Ford Tower. More details as they are available.
UPDATE 1.
From the WKU website: “The South Campus building on Nashville Road was evacuated earlier following reports that one or more persons were observed in the building with weapons. WKU Police, Bowling Green Police and State Police have conducted an extensive search of the building and the premises. At this time, the police have been unable to find any witnesses or evidence to support earlier reports that weapons were present.
“Following this, WKU PD received an unconfirmed report of shots fired in the vicinity of Pearce Ford Tower on the WKU main campus.
“Police have confirmed that there was a physical altercation not involving weapons between individuals that occurred in or near PFT, but the police are interviewing witnesses on the scene to determine if weapons were or are present, or if shots were fired.
“At this time, the campus emergency warning system has been activated. Students and employees have been advised to remain indoors, in secure areas, until an “all clear” is issued.”
A Twitter user with the screen name “RoyaltyGT” says he’s on the campus and he tweeted the following: “Several suspects in custody, still not sure exactly what happened. Official wku statement should be appearing on www.wku.edu soon.” In a later tweet, RoyaltyGT said he’d not heard of any injuries.
UPDATE 2.
Greg, who goes by “RoyaltyGT” on Twitter, tweets that WKU’s head of Media Relations Bob Skipper says, “No one has been shot or arrested at this time.”
WKU’s school paper, the Herald, reports that a man was injured on campus after the reports of shots being fired. The student publication also states that WKU’s main campus is not on lockdown, but classes have been cancelled for the day.
Then there’s this guy’s Twitter: BrianSexton. Check out a tweet he posted 2 hours ago: “Now there’s a riot in front of my dorm!”
It’s hard to tell with college students. I wouldn’t put it past a few of them to just mess with people.
Follow tweets on the subject here: Twitter — WKU.
UPDATE 3.
Western Kentucky University is all clear. The lockdown is over. There will be a press conference at 5 p.m. ET (4 CT).
In other words, nothing to see here. Move along. [WBKO.com, WKU.edu. Additional linkage: WKUHerald.com.]