By Lisa Cabrera
Cunningham, who has two advanced degrees from Harvard University, studied the health differences between people from various backgrounds, including race, gender, geography and class, according to his biography on the CDC’s website. Cunningham has also been deployed to help during public health emergencies, including Superstorm Sandy and the Ebola and Zika viruses, his biography says.
Cunningham’s parents had reported him missing on Feb. 14, two days after he found out he wasn’t getting a promotion at work and stopped contacting members of his close-knit family. Cunningham, who went home sick from work on Feb. 12, had also apparently left behind his dog, wallet, car and phone in his home, which alarmed his parents, who had traveled to Atlanta from Maryland to check on him, police said.
O’Connor, commander of the police department’s major crimes division, told reporters that during the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed family members, friends and colleagues and looked at many other factors — none of which showed any indication that there had been foul play. O’Connor said that although authorities are still awaiting toxicology results and for the medical examiner’s report to be finalized, investigators believe that Cunningham drowned.
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Police knocked on doors in his neighborhood and searched nearby woods and a cemetery in the area and found nothing.In the first days after his disappearance, conspiracy theorists filled in their own blanks. Some people speculated that Cunningham was a whistle-blower who had warned that the flu shot was responsible for this year’s deadly season.His father called that a lie. Police shot down the theory, too, saying Cunningham worked with chronic, not infectious, diseases, and didn’t have access to classified information.According to People, Cunningham’s career highlights included co-writing 28 publications about how health issues affect minorities. He also worked on numerous public health emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus.Last October, the Atlanta Business Chronicle featured him as one of its “40-Under-40” rising stars in the region.His parents told police about a “worrisome” phone call and text messages that their son, a Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate, had left for them on Feb. 11.Police said Thursday his body was identified by dental records. A toxicology report is pending.
Timothy Cunningham, a 35-year-old Harvard-educated leader within the nation’s health protection agency, was found dead late Tuesday night in the Chattahoochee River, which runs near his home, police said Thursday. A medical examiner identified his remains and said the cause of death was drowning.
Fulton County chief medical examiner Dr. Jan Gorniak, tells reporters that a body found in Chattahoochee River Tuesday has been identified as missing CDC employee Timothy Cunningham during a news conference Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Atlanta. Gorniak said the cause of death was drowning and she found no signs of foul play.
“The most unusual factor in this case is that every single belonging that we are aware of was located in the residence,” O’Connor said. “His keys, his cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all his identification, passport — everything you can think of, we’ve been able to locate. None of those items are missing.”
According to People, Cunningham’s career highlights included co-writing 28 publications about how health issues affect minorities. He also worked on numerous public health emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus.
“It was very difficult terrain, very difficult to access the location of where Mr. Cunningham was found,” Stafford said. “It was in a remote area that’s not easily accessible by walking trails, by vehicle or by people just being around there.”