Body of missing CDC scientist found in Chattahoochee River, officials say

Timothy Cunningham

The remains of Timothy Cunningham, 35, were found Tuesday in the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, Campos said. The location of the gruesome discovery is about 400 yards upstream from a bridge, just east of the Atlanta Public Safety Annex, officials said. Police previously called his disappearance unusual but said there had been no indications of attack on Cunningham.

The investigation is still under way, so the manner of death has not been determined, the medical examiner said.

Anxious neighbors formed search teams in effort to find 35-year-old Timothy Jerrell Cunningham who was last seen February 12th. Colleagues said he left after feeling unwell.

Cunningham's parents reported him missing on February 16 after they went to his home and found his belongings and vehicle there.

This is a breaking story.

Cunningham, a commander in the Public Health Service who responded to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and the Zika virus, disappeared on February 12 after he said he was sick and left his Atlanta office. He earned a spot a year ago in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 Under 40 list, a who's who of the city's young standouts. The only thing police said they found in Cunningham's pockets when his body was recovered were three crystals. He held two degrees from Harvard, and was a graduate of Morehouse College.

"None of this makes sense", his brother, Anterio Cunningham, told Atlanta's Fox 5. A report that the 35-year-old was recently unhappy about being passed over for a promotion was later retracted by the CDC.

"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.

Police and the CDC released conflicting information about Cunningham in the days after his disappearance. Atlanta police responded by doubling down on their version of events, citing the CDC as the source of the information.

A $10,000 reward had been offered in this disappearance, with police initially not suspecting any foul play.

"Our information came directly from the CDC".

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