Body of CDC worker missing for six weeks pulled from Atlanta river

06 April, 2018, 04:12 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Timothy Cunningham

The police say the body of Timothy Cunningham, a rising star at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was recovered from an Atlanta river on Tuesday, more than six weeks after he disappeared. 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.

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

"We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river", said a police spokesman.

Sgt. Stafford said the area where Cunningham was found was inaccessible through walking. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.

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Cunningham, a 35-year-old epidemiologist, vanished February 12, not long after learning why he had been passed over for a promotion.

Cunningham left work in the Atlanta office on February 12, saying that he was sick after learning he was passed over for promotion.

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

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.

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He was last seen leaving work early after telling his colleagues that he didn't feel well.

"At this stage, we're waiting on some information from the medical examiner's office or if someone were to bring new information to us that was relevant, then we would obviously look at that", O'Connor said. "In fact, he received an early promotion/exceptional proficiency promotion to Commander effective July 1, 2017, in recognition of his exemplary performance in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)", the CDC said in a March statement. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother.

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

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

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Cunningham's work at the CDC fueled speculation and conspiracy theories about his disappearance, including one dubious story on a website that said Cunningham disappeared amid warnings that his patients were dying from botched flu vaccines. "I can't tell you that he was jogging, but those two things together seem to indicate that that's a possibility".

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