Body of missing CDC scientist found in Chattahoochee River, officials say

06 April, 2018, 04:14 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • Timothy Cunningham

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doctor's body was discovered in a Georgia river after he had disappeared in February, police said Thursday.

An Atlanta Police Department spokesman said Thursday that a body was recovered from the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta this week and that authorities have positively identified the deceased person as Timothy Cunningham.

The circumstances of Cunningham's death remain unclear, but the police said they don't suspect foul play in the case, and they believe he drowned somehow.

The preliminary cause of death is drowning, Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Gorniak told reporters.

The muddy river spot where the officer was found wasn't too far from his house, but there weren't any roads or running trails nearby, so it's not clear exactly how Cunningham got in there.

Missing CDC doctor Timothy Cunningham was last seen on February 12, 2018. The manner of death has not yet been determined, but officials say there were no signs of foul play.

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The CDC, however, fired back at the reports and said in March that Cunningham had received an early promotion.

O'Connor has stressed that investigators have not uncovered any evidence that Cunningham's promotion snub was directly linked to his disappearance.

O'Connor said last month he thought the disappearance was "extremely unusual", because all Cunningham's belongings were at his home. "His keys, his cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all his identification, passport - everything you can think of, we've been able to locate".

His family said he called out sick from work and was not seen or heard from since that day. Cunningham was also known to be a jogger, and was wearing his "favorite jogging shoes" when he was found. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother. He co-authored more than two dozen publications that centered on how health issues impact minorities, worked on notable public health crises such as the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, PEOPLE reports.

Friends said Cunningham was smart and caring, with a big grin and big hugs to match. "As a parent, you have indicators when things are just not right with your child, and that was the case". Officials with the CDC said he actually received an early promotion to Commander, effective July 1, which contradicted what was said during a police news conference.

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