Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Body of missing CDC researcher found in Atlanta river

Body of missing CDC researcher found in Atlanta river

A body found in the Chattahoochee River has been identified as missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee Timothy Cunningham, authorities announced Thursday.

Timothy Cunningham's body was found Tuesday partially submerged in water and mud on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, fire-rescue department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said at a news conference. But police said that, based on their own interviews and the findings of the autopsy so far, they have no reason to believe there was any foul play.

His cause of death has not been released.

Cunningham was identified today by dental records, officials said, and the autopsy was completed on Wednesday.

Timothy Cunningham, 35, was last seen by coworkers while leaving the CDC in Chamblee, Georgia on February 12.

In a news conference on February 27, Atlanta police said Cunningham had been passed over for a promotion the week before he disappeared.

After Cunningham's disappearance, police offered $10,000 as a reward for any clues regarding Cunningham's whereabouts.

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O'Connor said last month he thought the disappearance was "extremely unusual", because all Cunningham's belongings were at his home.

The case perplexed investigators because Cunningham's keys, cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet and all forms of identification were found in his house, along with his beloved dog.

"We do know that he was a jogger and he was wearing his favorite jogging shoes at the time that he was found", O'Connor said.

He left work soon after, saying he was not feeling well. The manner of death, however, has yet to be determined. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother. In a statement, the CDC said Cunningham received an "exceptional proficiency promotion" July 1 to the position of commander, an early promotion reflecting his excellence as an employee.

The agency said he'd been deployed to work on numerous public-health emergencies, including Superstorm Sandy, the Ebola outbreak, and the Zika outbreak.

By outward appearances, Cunningham seemed to have a successful career. WSB-TV reported that the esteemed doctor had texted his mother at 5:21 a.m. and then called her at 9:12 a.m. on Feb.12. "As a parent, you have indicators when things are just not right with your child, and that was the case".

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