Missing CDC Worker Found Dead

Timothy Cunningham disappeared almost 2 months ago
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2018 2:19 PM CDT
Body of Missing CDC Worker Found
Law enforcement officials listen from the back of the room while Major Michael O'Connor, Atlanta Police Department Major Crimes Commander, holds a press conference on missing CDC researcher Timothy Cunningham at the Atlanta Public Safety Headquarters on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018, in Atlanta.   (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who disappeared almost two months ago under what officials called "an extremely unusual set of circumstances" has been found dead. The body of Timothy Cunningham, 35, was found along the bank of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta Tuesday night, and the medical examiner ruled the preliminary cause of death as drowning, ABC News reports. The manner of death has not yet been determined, but officials say there were no signs of foul play. The river had been searched previously, but people fishing spotted Cunningham's body and called 911 Tuesday. "We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river," Maj. Michael O'Connor of the Atlanta Police told reporters.

Cunningham, who vanished after saying he was sick Feb. 12 and leaving his Atlanta office, was wearing his favorite jogging suit and had some rare stones, which he collected, in his pocket when he was found. His parents had received alarming text messages from him the night before his disappearance; shortly before he left work on Feb. 12, he was informed why he had recently been denied a promotion. He texted his mother at 5:21am that morning but her phone was on silent; he also called her at 9:12am that day but she didn't answer, CNN reports. All of his personal belongings, including his keys, cellphone, wallet, and beloved dog, were found at his home after he went missing. The Harvard-educated commander in the Public Health Service had responded to such public health emergencies as the Ebola virus and the Zika virus. (More drowning stories.)

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