No signs of foul play in death of CDC scientist Timothy Cunningham

Disease Controls Tom Harkin Global Communications Center

Cunningham was an epidemiologist in the CDC's chronic disease unit. Authorities say he likely drowned and there were no signs of any marks or injuries that would lead to indications of foul play.

Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Jan Gorniak determined the cause of death.

The remains of Timothy Cunningham, 35, were found Tuesday in the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, Campos said.

A body found in the Chattahoochee River has been identified as missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee Timothy Cunningham, authorities announced Thursday.

His disappearance prompted a $10,000 reward for any clues, and a massive police search.

In a statement in late February, the CDC said Cunningham was a "highly respected" member of the agency.


"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.

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

The 35-year-old had reportedly worked as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and had responded to the Ebola virus and the Zika virus outbreaks. They said he had had a discussion about that on the morning he was last seen. He earned a spot past year in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 Under 40 list, a who's who of the city's young standouts.

Cunningham, a CDC scientist and researcher responding to public health emergencies such as the Ebola and Zika viruses, vanished on February 12.

Fliers circulated across Atlanta in the weeks after he disappeared.

The agency also closed with a message to Cunningham directly. "As a parent, you have indicators when things are just not right with your child, and that was the case". Cunningham was known to collect these sort of items. Stafford said that rescue crews had to use boats and special equipment to reach Cunningham's body because it was located in hard terrain in a "remote area not easily accessible". He held two degrees from Harvard, and was a graduate of Morehouse College. Each time, they felt heart-wrenching agony, they said, only to learn it wasn't their son. "This is extremely hard".

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