Medical

Body of missing CDC worker found in river

Body of missing CDC worker found in river

The body of an employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who had been missing since February was found dead in the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, police announced Thursday.

Timothy Cunningham, a commander in the United States Public Health Service and epidemiologist with the CDC, was last seen leaving on February 12 after filing for sick leave at his Atlanta office.

His family said he called out sick from work and was not seen or heard from since that day.

Atlanta Police Major Michael O'Connor said Cunningham was found in his favorite jogging suit and had crystals in his pockets, adding it was a hobby of his to collect stones and gems.

Police initially said that on the day Mr Cunningham was last seen alive, he had expressed disappointment to his supervisor about missing a promotion.

O'Connor said the one thing he still doesn't understand is how Cunningham ended up in the river.

His parents said they later discovered his phone, wallet and auto keys as well as his dog - which had been left unattended - at his Atlanta home.

Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Jan Gorniak determined the cause of death. Atlanta police confirm that a body pulled from the Chattahoochee River on April 3 was the missing scientist.

When they arrived at his house a few days later, Cunningham's parents said, they knew something was wrong because his Tibetan spaniel was unattended. Police said there did not appear to be foul play, but they are awaiting a toxicology screen and other testing results.

Earlier that morning, at 5:21 a.m., Cunningham's mother had received a text message from him, she has said. He was once named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "40 under 40" list.

The 35-year-old had reportedly worked as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and had responded to the Ebola virus and the Zika virus outbreaks. The dog, known as Bo, had twice accompanied Cunningham to Harvard, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees. 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.

Almost two weeks later, the CDC said that information was untrue.

"Our information came directly from the CDC".


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