Body of missing CDC worker found; no signs of foul play

06 April, 2018, 04:16 | Author: Lynne Higgins
  • Timothy Cunningham

Timothy Cunningham's body was found Tuesday partially submerged in water and mud on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, fire-rescue department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said at a news conference.

The area - not far from Cunningham's home - was inaccessible by walking, police said, and they struggled to find a place to launch a boat to reach his remains. One popular rumor was that he was a whistle-blower who had warned others at the CDC that the vaccine used for the flu season had caused some of the high number of deaths from the illness.

Atlanta Police Department Major Michael O'Connor said the river is located fairly close to Cunningham's house and that he was known to go for runs.

Cunningham's home is not far from the river, O'Connor said. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.

Timothy Cunningham, 35, worked as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, but he disappeared after he went home sick on February 12.

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Police said earlier that they did not suspect foul play but had not ruled it out, either, and Cunningham's family and Atlanta CrimeStoppers offered a $10,000 reward for information. Co-workers said that the day he left work, Cunningham had gotten news that he was passed over for a new position and was upset about it.

O'Connor has stressed that investigators have not uncovered any evidence that Cunningham's promotion snub was directly linked to his disappearance.

Cunningham's family claimed that the 35-year-old had been behaving very strangely before vanishing without a trace two months ago. The manner of death, however, has yet to be determined. On Monday this week, Cunningham's parents told the FOX News sister station in Cleveland their son provided a clue 24 hours before his disappearance, claiming they received a "disturbing" text from him but wouldn't elaborate. In the statement, it said that Cunningham had in fact received an early promotion for his outstanding work.

"Tim's impact will be felt not only through his significant contributions to CDC's mission, but also through his influence on the lives of his colleagues and friends".

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. "I can't tell you that he was jogging but those things together seem to indicate that that is a possibility". His work as a Public Health Service commander including responding to public health emergencies such as the Ebola virus and Zika virus.

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