Body of missing CDC researcher found in Atlanta river

06 April, 2018, 04:10 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Statement To The Media From Acting CDC Director RADM Anne Schuchat, MD | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

The body of Timothy Cunningham, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist missing since February, has been found. Cunningham's remains were found this week in a river in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Police Department announced the results of the medical examiner over Twitter. Posts online presented Cunningham as a flu vaccine whistleblower. He had also called in sick February 8 and 9, the two previous workdays, O'Connor said.

"We found that to be an unusual circumstance in a missing persons case", Major O'Connor told reporters at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Atlanta police responded by doubling down on their version of events, citing the CDC as the source of the information.

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. "His keys, his cellphone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all of his identification, passports". In an Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 Awards profile past year, Cunningham said he was "using the skills I have to improve and help the lives of others", referring to his work at the CDC. They said he had had a discussion about that on the morning he was last seen. "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.

He was also well regarded in the community, where he earned the Outstanding Atlanta award in 2014 in recognition of his "service, leadership and achievements of Atlanta young professionals" and named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 under 40 a year ago.

Friends also found the disappearance troublingly out of character. He worked on public health emergencies including Superstorm Sandy, the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus. During this time, there was false information spread about the disappearance of Cunningham. "I can't tell you that he was jogging, but those two things together seem to indicate that that's a possibility".

Family members expressed grave concern after several days passed without anyone being able to reach Cunningham.

Timothy Cunningham was a Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate.

Gorniak added that the condition of Cunningham's body is "consistent" with having been in the water since the day he went missing and there were no signs of trauma or underlying medical conditions.



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