Missing CDC Doctor Timothy Cunningham Found Dead In Chattahoochee River

Disease Controls Tom Harkin Global Communications Center

Timothy Cunningham, a 35-year-old Centers For Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist, vanished after leaving work February 12 complaining he felt unwell; some seven weeks later, his decomposed body was spotted by fishermen in a rugged area along the banks of the Atlanta area's Chattahoochee River, according to officials.

"The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the body recovered in the Chattahoochee River in NW Atlanta late Tuesday to be missing CDC employee Timothy Cunningham", Atlanta police tweeted.

His cause of death has not been released. However, the exact means by which Dr. Cunningham got to the river may never be revealed. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.

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

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Police previously had said they had no evidence of foul play but couldn't rule it out. It was later learned that had been passed up for a promotion, with his supervisor discussing it with him earlier that day, police had said.

In the days after he went missing, Cunningham's case drew intense media scrutiny and speculation about what had happened in what police called "unusual" circumstances.

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. The manner of death, however, has yet to be determined.

Cunningham was 35 years old at the time of his disappearance. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother.

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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.

Friends said Cunningham was smart and caring, with a big grin and big hugs to match.

There are still many unanswered questions surrounding Cunningham's disappearance and what led up to his death. "I can't tell you that he was jogging but those things together seem to indicate that that is a possibility".

The Times reports Cunningham was promoted in July to commander in the uniformed United States Public Health Service. 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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