Missing CDC employee's body found in river months after disappearance, police say

Missing CDC employee's body found in river months after disappearance, police say

Michael O'Connor of the Atlanta Police told reporters today.

The Fulton County medical examiner's office says since the investigation is still open they do not have an official manner of death at this time. But tests, including a toxicology screening, are still pending.

Timothy Cunningham, 25, an epidemiologist at the CDC, was found in Chattahoochee River late Tuesday after he went missing on February 12, Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos announced Thursday.

And yet many questions remain unanswered. Atlanta police confirm that a body pulled from the Chattahoochee River on April 3 was the missing scientist.

Police previously said there was no evidence of foul play, but that it couldn't be ruled out.

Police said Cunningham, who was not married, was wearing his favorite running shoes and the "avid collector" of rare stones had three crystals in his pocket, Time reported. "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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Cunningham also called his mother at 9:12 a.m. that day, but she did not answer, Atlanta police have said.

The Associated Press reported he had been distraught after being passed over for a promotion.

He was last seen leaving work early after telling his colleagues that he didn't feel well. All of his belongings - including wallet, keys and passport - were found inside his Atlanta home. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother.

Friends said Cunningham was smart and caring, with a big grin and big hugs to match. He held a master's degree and a doctorate from Harvard's School of Public Health. In the statement, it said that Cunningham had in fact received an early promotion for his outstanding work. His work as a Public Health Service commander including responding to public health emergencies such as the Ebola virus and Zika virus.

Last year Cunningham was quoted in an NPR report about the death rate declining among black Americans. The preliminary cause of death is drowning. "None of those items are missing", O'Connor said.

"We have seen an increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases of hepatitis C related to injection drug use in people under the age of 30 over the past several years and have been concerned about the potential for HIV infection following a similar course, " said Dr. Al DeMaria, infectious disease medical director and state epidemiologist at DPH.

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