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Baffling Disappearance Of CDC Epidemiologist Remains Unsolved After More Than One Month

[Editor's Note: Since we last went to press at the end of March, Atlanta public officials in early April have found the body of CDC epidemiologist Tim Cunningham in the Chattahoochee River near Cunningham's home. Apparently Cunningham drowned and there is no evidence of foul play uncovered to date. We will report additional details in our next issue later in April.]

As noted last month in our Notes on People feature and widely reported in the media, CDC epidemiologist Tim Cunningham has been reported missing  for over a month now. The case is baffling his family, friends, and investigators because Cunningham disappeared without a clue. The police have characterized the case as very unusual because his wallet, mobile phone, credit cards, keys, automobile, and even his much loved dog were all found in the home.

On the last day he was seen, it was widely reported based on police statements that Cunningham had met with his supervisor that morning after being passed over for a promotion. He subsequently said he was ill and left work early. He has not been seen since. 

According to acting CDC director Anne Schuchat, “There has been news coverage that Commander Cunningham recently did not receive a promotion. As many of his colleagues in the USPHS have pointed out, this information is incorrect. 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 (USPHS). Over and above any of his assignments at CDC, his early promotion within the USPHS reflects his excellence as an officer and an employee.”

According to USA Today, the Atlanta police department is “…standing by its statements, saying the information came directly from the CDC. This conflicting information makes the already mysterious missing person case even more confusing.”  He called in sick in the two workdays before his Feb 12 disappearance

 Below are additional facts about the case as reported by various media sources.

·       He called in sick in the two workdays before his Feb 12 disappearance


·       His home was locked but two windows had been left open


·       He sent a text to his mother very early in the morning on the day he disappeared while her phone was turned to silent


·       His father said that some exchanges with his son via phone as well as text on the day before he disappeared raised concern.


·       Two days before disappearing, he asked a neighbor to have his phone number deleted from the neighbor’s wife’s phone.

A reward of at least $20,000 has now been announced for information on the disappearance. Anyone with information about Cunningham is asked to call the Atlanta Police Homicide/Missing Persons Unit at 404-

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