Ivry Hall (right), a sophomore majoring in business at Alabama State University, is a person of interest in the murder case of ASU student Adam Dowdell, whose body was found behind a church on Monday.
Dowdell's mother, Toya Cohill identified Hall as the friend who went with her son to an ATM machine last week. Dowdell, 21, never returned to his dorm room.
He was missing for 5 days when his body was found behind a church not far from the ASU campus.
Cohill posted photos of her son and Hall on Facebook late Wednesday. She wrote in all caps: "THEY GOT HIM!!... THANK YOU JESUS... JUSTICE FOR ADAM DOWDELL AKA BELLE... I WON'T MISS A COURT DATE!"
Hall, a 20-year-old Chicago native, grew up on the South Side, and overcame incredible odds to become Valedictorian at Tilden high School.
According to ABC7, Hall moved in with a cousin after his single mom passed away from cancer when Hall was 12.
"When my mom passed away, I was so hurt. And I just wanted to do better," he told ABC7.
"I had to get on three buses and one train!" Hall said. It took him 2 hours to get to school.
Hall said his childhood was filled with trouble.
"Gang banging. I used to smoke when I was little," Hall said, adding that he dropped out of school at one point.
"I did a lot of stuff. That's just from the image I was seeing so I wanted to do it too," he said.
"I don't believe in giving up, and I think that failure is not an option," Hall said.
When he was a senior, he lost his dad to lung failure.
"Of course, I lost my mom. I lost my dad. I wish they were still here to see what I've accomplished now, but they're not. Everything is not going to come as you want it," he said.
Despite the tragedy and setbacks in his life, Hall persevered and studied hard to become school valedictorian.
"I always wish that I could graduate valedictorian, and look, I did," Hall said. "I was beyond happy."
In 2019, Hall headed to Alabama State University on a full scholarship.
"Major in business, so I can open up my own business. I'm not for sure what I want to open up, but I want to help people, like she's doing," Hall said, referring to his mentor, Sally Hazelgrove, who runs an Englewood boxing gym.
"I'm going to go to college and graduate, so I'm going to find a way to study. I'm going to find a way to do everything without giving up. If I give up, I will be just like everybody that I know," Hall said.