Center for Disease Control and Prevention scientist, Tim Cunningham, disappeared on February 12, 2018, under exceptionally mysterious circumstances. Right before he went missing, Cunningham, who seemed to live a quiet average life, reportedly told his neighbor to erase his number from his phone. He then went missing from his Atlanta, Georgia home, strangely leaving behind critical belongings, including his wallet, cell phone, car keys and other important cards and documents, WHAS reported.
His disappearance had been questionable since it was out of character for the seemingly stable scientist who began having sudden bouts of illness three times leading up to the day he disappeared. A week prior to going missing, Cunningham had allegedly learned that the promotion he was up for at the CDC had gone someone else. However, the CDC later said that was untrue. On Thursday and Friday of that week, he had called out sick and missed work.
Upon returning that following Monday, February 12, he allegedly met with his supervisor who explained why he was denied the promotion. Shortly after that meeting, he was feeling unwell again and went home. This was the last he had been seen until his body was found today, on April 5.
While driving home from work that Monday for feeling sick, Cunningham had reportedly called his mother who lives in Maryland. However, nobody answered and he was never heard from again. Concerned that he couldn’t be reached for days after, which was unusual for their son, the scientist’s parents traveled to his home to check on him. On arrival, they found that he was not there, but noticed something else. Two windows had been left open: one to a bathroom and one to a laundry room. These were never windows their son opened so it was an immediate reason for concern.
Now, just over seven weeks later, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed the identity of a body they found that is Cunningham. His body had been recovered late Tuesday, April 4 from the Chattahoochee River in NW Atlanta.
“UPDATE: The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the body recovered in the Chattahoochee River in NW Atlanta late Tuesday to be missing CDC employee Timothy Cunningham. A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. ET at APD Headquarters on the investigation,” the police department announced on Twitter Wednesday morning, April 5.
Considering the critical information that Cunningham was privy to at the CDC, some people found his disappearance and now death to be exceptionally questionable. The details during the investigation leading up to this discovery, such as telling a neighbor to erase his number, taking nothing with him when he left, and finding two windows in his home unopen, have only raised more questions as to foul play for a sinister reason. Although Atlanta Police Major Michael O’Connor said early on in the investigation that there was “no evidence suggesting anything,” the CDC seemed to contradict details given out by police.
11 Alive reports:
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is discounting information that police released regarding missing employee Timothy Cunningham as erroneous.
In a statement from the government agency, officials said that information in the news that claimed Cunningham had been passed over for a promotion was untrue.
Those details were actually released by the Atlanta Police Department during a press conference on their ongoing attempts to find Cunningham, who went missing on Feb. 12 after leaving work and supposedly returning home. But the truth, according to the CDC, is the exact opposite.
The local news outlet reported on April 5 how officers found Cunningham’s body:
On Tuesday night, fishermen discovered a body on the Chattahoochee River and called 911. Investigators later confirmed the body was Cunningham’s, and said its condition was consistent with his Feb. 12 missing date.
There were no signs of foul play, and it appeared drowning was the cause of death, police said.
“We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river,” police said in a Thursday afternoon news conference.
The CDC released a statement in the immediate aftermath of Cunningham’s body being found after
CDR Timothy Cunningham’s colleagues and friends at CDC are deeply saddened to learn of his death. 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.
Tim was a team lead in the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch of CDC’s Division of Population Health. He also completed CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer program. His research has been oriented towards understanding health differences related to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and geography. CDR Cunningham also deployed for numerous public health emergency responses, including Superstorm Sandy, Ebola, and Zika. He served in multiple leadership roles with the Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association.
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. We extend our condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time