CDC scientist found dead in Atlanta after mysterious disappearance likely drowned, police say

Timothy Cunningham
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A Centers for Disease and Control employee who mysteriously vanished two months ago was found dead in an Atlanta river and likely drowned, police said Thursday.

Timothy Cunningham, a promising official who aided the CDC in responses to Ebola and Zika outbreaks, went missing in February after leaving work early at his office in Chamblee, Ga.

Cunningham told co-workers he felt sick and planned to finish working at home. But in the hours and days before his disappearance, Cunningham, 35, made a number of odd comments.

Atlanta police confirmed Thursday that his body was found in the Chattahoochee River in the northwest area of the city. Authorities say he likely drowned and there were no signs of any marks or injuries that would lead to indications of foul play. He also had no signs of any other ailments that could have contributed to his death.

Several men fishing along the river discovered Cunningham’s remains on the riverbank on Tuesday. Rough currents made it hard for fire officials to recover his body, which took several days to identify because it was in the water for nearly two months, Fulton County chief medical examiner Jan Gorniak said.

Fire officials had previously searched the river after Cunningham’s disappearance but did not find anything.

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