Deundray Cottrell death: Search continues for person of interest in Atlanta man's homicide

The search continues for a person of interest in the death of an Atlanta man whose body was found in Birmingham over the Fourth of July holiday.  

The Birmingham Police Department has confirmed with FOX 5 that they still consider 31-year-old Julian Taylor Morris a person of interest in connection with Deundray Cottrell's disappearance and death. 

On Sunday, Birmingham police said that the death of Cottrell, a 31-year-old doctorate student and dancer from Atlanta, was ruled a homicide. 

Authorities have not shared any details about what led to that determination.

How did Deundray Cottrell go missing in Alabama?

Cottrell's sister, Angela Harris, told that the missing man and Morris traveled to visit her and her family for the holiday. 

According to Harris, around 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July, Cottrell told the family he was going to make sure his dog was handling the fireworks.

"He went and checked on the dog, and I never saw him again,’' Harris told

During their investigation, Birmingham police say they found clothing in the area belonging to Cottrell. A resident in the area also provided Ring camera footage showing Cottrell running through yards and jumping over a fence.

"It looked like he was looking for refuge,’' Harris said. "He was running for his life."

Deundray Cottrell's body discovered in shed

Deundray Cottrell (Birmingham Police Department)

After hours of searching, officers found Cottrell's body on Saturday afternoon.

"Our sergeants on the east precinct gathered our officers, they went out to the 7900 block of 5th Avenue South, and our dispatchers informed us just before 3 p.m., our officers made the grim discovery of Deundray Cottrell. He was deceased," a Birmingham Police Department spokesperson said.

On Monday, the Jefferson County Coroner's Office said that the missing man's body was discovered in a shed located in the backyard of an abandoned home, WBRC reported.

At the time, authorities described Cottrell's death as "suspicious."

Search for person of interest in Deundray Cottrell's death

 Julian Taylor Morris (Birmingham Police Department)

After Cottrell's disappearance, the Birmingham Police Department asked the public for help finding Morris. On Monday, a spokesperson for the department confirmed that they still consider him a person of interest in the investigation.

Investigators say Morris was Cottrell's romantic partner and may have been the last person to see the man before his death. Morris was also part of Cottrell's male performance trio, Skiiboyz Entertainment.

Morris is described as a Black man who is 5-feet-6-inches tall with a weight of 160 pounds.

Officers are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case.

Anyone with information about the case should call Birmingham Crime Stoppers at (205) 254-7777 or 911.