Body Of Missing CDC Employee Timothy Cunningham Found Near Chattahoochee River

Katherine Welles  Shutterstock Inc

An employee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was reported missing more than seven weeks ago was found drowned in a river not far from his house, with no sign of foul play, authorities said Thursday.

"Back on February 23, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department did, in fact, search the Chattahoochee River from Marietta Boulevard going downstream to Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway which is close to where Mr. Cunningham's body was found", Stafford said.

Fishermen first discovered Cunningham's body and called authorities, said Stafford, who noted the body was found in an area that authorities had already searched in February without finding anything.

"We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river", Major Michael O'Connor of Atlanta Police told reporters. "During that search, we did not find any indication or signs of a body being at the river at that time".

Tim was a treasured member of the CDC family and his work as an epidemiologist was invaluable to CDC's efforts to protect the health, safety, and security of Americans. It was later learned that had been passed up for a promotion, with his supervisor discussing it with him earlier that day, police had said.

"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", a March 12 statement from the agency said, in part.

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Those are the words of the Atlanta Police Department's Homicide and Missing Person's Unit. The only thing police said they found in Cunningham's pockets when his body was recovered were three crystals.

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 past year. He co-authored more than two dozen publications that centered on how health issues impact minorities, worked on notable public health crises such as the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, PEOPLE reports.

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

By outward appearances, Cunningham seemed to have a successful career.

Timothy Cunningham was a Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate.

Four times since their son went missing, Cunningham's parents have been told that a body had been found.

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