Death Of Man Seen On Ring Cameras 'Running For His Life' Ruled A Homicide

The death of a missing man from Atlanta who disappeared on the Fourth of July while visiting his family in Alabama has been ruled a homicide, and authorities are now trying to locate his partner, Birmingham police announced Monday.

Deundray Cottrell, 31, and his partner, Julian Taylor Morris, 31, arrived in Alabama on July 4 to visit Cottrell’s sister and celebrate the holiday with Cottrell’s family, according to reports by AL.com.

Angelica Harris, Cottrell’s sister, told the outlet that she last saw her brother at around 10 that night, when he said he was going upstairs to check on his dog because of the fireworks. But, she said, Morris told the family that Cottrell ran off through the backyard.

While searching for Cottrell, the family found one of his shoes and his cellphone and reported him missing to police.

Deundray Cottrell's body was found on July 6 in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 31.
Deundray Cottrell’s body was found on July 6 in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 31.

Facebook Deundray Cottrell

Harris told WSB-TV that Morris’ initial reaction to her brother’s disappearance was out of the ordinary.

“While we looked, Julian didn’t,” Harris told the outlet. “At one point while everybody was searching, we came back in the house and Julian had fixed a plate and was sitting there eating. And he looked at me and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, the food is so good.’”

Several Ring cameras from the neighborhood showed Cottrell running through people’s yards and jumping over a gate, according to AL.com.

“It looked like he was looking for refuge,” Harris told the outlet. “He was running for his life.”

Cottrell was found dead on Saturday, about two blocks from his last known location, according to the police press release. The Jefferson County medical examiner’s office has ruled Cottrell’s manner of death a homicide.

The medical examiner’s office did not offer further details about Cottrell’s cause of death, but told HuffPost in an email that Cottrell was discovered unresponsive “inside a detached shed in the backyard of an abandoned residence.”

Timothy Cottrell, the victim’s older brother, told ABC affiliate WBMA that the family had passed by the shed “numerous times” without thinking Deundray might be inside.

Police say they are now looking for Morris and consider him a person of interest in the investigation of his partner’s death.

Truman Fitzgerald, the Birmingham Police Department’s public information officer, told WBMA that Morris “may hold crucial information” about the killing, and that it’s possible Morris could be a suspect or be in danger himself.

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