Death of man seen running past surveillance cameras ruled a homicide
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Death of man seen running past surveillance cameras ruled a homicide

The death of a missing Atlanta man who vanished July 4 while visiting family in Alabama has been ruled a homicide and authorities are NOW He is trying to locate his partner, Birmingham police said 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, AL.com reports.

Angelica Harris, Cottrell’s sister, told the outlet that she last saw her brother around 10 p.m. that night, when he went upstairs to check on his dog because of the fireworks. But, she said, Morris told the family that Cottrell had run off into the backyard.

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

Death of man seen running past surveillance cameras ruled a homicide
The body of Deundray Cottrell was found on July 6 in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 31 years old.

Facebook Deundray Cottrell

Harris told WSB-TV that Morris’ initial reaction to his brother’s disappearance was unusual.

“As we were watching, Julian didn’t stop,” Harris told the outlet. “At one point, while everyone was looking, we came back into the house and Julian had a plate of food and was sitting there eating. He looked at me and said, ‘Oh my God, this food is so good.’”

According to AL.com, several Ring cameras in the neighborhood showed Cottrell running into people’s yards and jumping over a gate.

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

According to a police news release, Cottrell was found dead Saturday, about two blocks from his last known place of residence. The Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Cottrell’s cause of death a homicide.

The medical examiner’s office did not provide further details on 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 driven past the shed “several 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 into his partner’s death.

Truman Fitzgerald, public information officer for the Birmingham Police Department, told WBMA that Morris “may have critical information” about the killing, and that Morris may be a suspect or in danger himself.