Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Missing CDC worker's body recovered in Atlanta river

Timothy Cunningham Timothy Cunningham
Judith Alexander | 06 April, 2018, 04:15

Timothy Cunningham, an epidemiologist at the CDC, was found in Chattahoochee River late Tuesday.

Atlanta officials confirmed the death of Dr. Timothy Cunningham, a 35-year-old epidemiologist with the CDC who was last seen almost two months ago, during an April 5 press conference.

Preliminary findings show the CDC worker who went missing almost two months ago may have drowned, the Fulton County medical examiner said Thursday.

Cunningham vanished February 12. after telling colleagues at CDC headquarters he was not feeling well.

Fulton County Chief medical examiner Jan Gorniak determined the cause of death as drowning.

"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.

Police said the body was recovered in an area that was not easily accessible.

11 Alive reports that the information the Atlanta Police received came directly from the CDC.

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"We're open to any and all possibilities", O'Connor previously said, though he declined to say how investigators were taking Cunningham's mental health into account during the search.

Police had previously located Cunningham's keys, cellphone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet and passports.

Based on the evidence gathered so far, O'Connor said the investigation is "likely going to draw mostly to a close", though he said he is still waiting for a final report from the medical examiner's office. But the CDC disputed that, saying that Cunningham been promoted to commander effective July 1 "in recognition of his exemplary performance in the U.S. Public Health Service".

Cunningham's family claimed that the 35-year-old had been behaving very strangely before vanishing without a trace two months ago.

With more than 16 years of experience in public health, he'd co-authored 28 publications on topics ranging from sleep deprivation to pulmonary disease, with a special focus on how health issues affect minorities.

His CDC biography says he was a "team lead" with the Division of Population Health and had deployed for several public health emergencies "including Superstorm Sandy, Ebola, and Zika".

Cunningham's parents, Tia and Terrell Cunningham, recently said they shared a worrisome series of text messages and a phone call with their son on the evening of February 11. Timothy's family stated that he had a conversation with them the day before he vanished, that had left them concerned.

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