Officials confirmed on Thursday that the body found late Tuesday night in the Chattahoochee River is that of a missing CDC scientist.
35-year-old Timothy Cunningham has been missing for over a month since he disappeared on February 12 after leaving work at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Chamblee.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">JUST IN: Body of missing CDC employee Timothy Cunningham found in Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, police say. Cunningham had been reported missing in February. <a href="https://t.co/7SxRcpfk2s">pic.twitter.com/7SxRcpfk2s</a></p>— NBC News (@NBCNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/981937242984910850?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 5, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The body was found by fishermen on Tuesday night in the Chattahoochee River near Donald Hollowell, nearly 400 yards upstream from the bridge, and on the Atlanta side of the river. The fishermen contacted authorities to inform them about their discovery of the said body just east of the Atlanta Public Safety Annex.
The body was already decomposing when it was found and rescuers could not exactly determine how long it had been in the river.
Atlanta Police confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the body had been positively identified as Cunningham. They said that it appeared that the scientist had drowned. There were no clear signs of foul play.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">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. <a href="https://t.co/PlAGiqHO5P">pic.twitter.com/PlAGiqHO5P</a></p>— Atlanta Police Dept (@Atlanta_Police) <a href="https://twitter.com/Atlanta_Police/status/981933417951645696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 5, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Atlanta Police Major Michael O’ Connor said: “The river’s not that far from his home, and we do know that he was a jogger and he was wearing his favorite jogging shoes at the time that he was found.”
O’ Connor added: “We have no indication at this point that there is any foul play, and so far nobody had indicated to us that there was any situation in the doctor’s life that might have resulted in foul play being a contributing factor.”
It was a sorry loss for a young achiever and competent government worker. Cunningham worked as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and he had responded to the Ebola virus and the Zika virus outbreaks. He held two Harvard degrees. He was also a graduate of Morehouse College. He also made it to the list of the Atlanta Business Chronicles’s “40 under 40” list.
There have been previous speculations and rumors about Cunningham’s disappearance with some saying there could be links to some disputes at work, but authorities at this point are dismissing such an angle.