Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Missing CDC worker found dead two months later

Missing CDC worker found dead two months later

Cunningham's disappearance in February had prompted a massive search amid conspiracy theories related to his work with the CDC.

Cunningham left work early on February 12 after telling co-workers he felt sick.

After driving overnight from Maryland to Atlanta, Cunningham's parents said they found their son's phone, wallet, keys and vehicle undisturbed inside his house.

But Mr. O'Connor said the circumstances of Mr. Cunningham's death might never be known.

Jan Gorniak, Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner examined the cause of death as drowning but said that she could not provide additional information as she was still awaiting the toxicology reports. Officials said it was just east of the Atlanta Public Safety Annex.


The CDC's director in mid-March issued a statement denying that Cunningham hadn't gotten a promotion and noting that he'd been promoted in July.

His family said he called out sick from work and was not seen or heard from since that day.

Timothy Cunningham's remains were found Tuesday evening by fishermen along the Chattahoochee River in a rural area that had been previously searched and is not easily accessible by foot, authorities said at a press conference. 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. Cunningham was wearing his favorite jogging shoes when he was found. They noted that Cunningham's body was found stuck in the mud on the bank of the river face up.

The medical examiner said there were no signs of foul play in the 35-year-old's death.

"It was very hard to access the location where Mr. Cunningham was found", explained Sgt. Cortez Stafford with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.


"Barring new information coming forward, we may never be able to tell you how he got into the river", he said. But he also said that he didn't know Cunningham's personal habits, or whether he would leave his wallet at home if he didn't intend to purchase anything.

Assuming no new information is brought to investigators, O'Connor said, the case will likely be closed "fairly soon".

Almost two weeks later, the CDC said that information was untrue.

He was reportedly working as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and had responded to the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks.

Dr. Cunningham was a commander at the CDC and was once named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's '40 under 40'. The dog, known as Bo, had twice accompanied Cunningham to Harvard, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees. They said he had many wonderful things going on in his life, a caring family, a handsome home, and a dog he adored.


There are still many unanswered questions surrounding Cunningham's disappearance and what led up to his death.

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