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

Statement To The Media From Acting CDC Director RADM Anne Schuchat, MD | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

The circumstances of Cunningham's death remain unclear, but the police said they don't suspect foul play in the case, and they believe he drowned somehow.

Those details were actually released by the Atlanta Police Department during a press conference on their ongoing attempts to find Cunningham, who went missing on February 12 after leaving work and supposedly returning home.

The 35-year-old left early from work and left all of his important documents, valuables, and his dog Bo behind at his apartment.

Maj. O'Connor said he was wearing his favorite jogging shoes at the time he was found and three crystals were in his pocket.

"We may never be able to tell you", he said, noting there wasn't any surveillance footage in the area that would help piece together his final movements.

On Tuesday night, fishermen called 911 after discovering a body in the river.

The CDC's director in mid-March issued a statement denying that Cunningham hadn't gotten a promotion and noting that he'd been promoted in July.

There were no signs of foul play in the death of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist, said Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Gorniak. The case, investigated by the Atlanta Police Department, has now come to a shocking and tragic end. Inside Cunningham's home, the parents said they found his phone, wallet, keys and vehicle undisturbed. Cunningham was known to collect these sort of items.

The Centers for Disease Control's Tom Harkin Global Communications Center is pictured in Atlanta in this undated image. They said the state of the body found in the river was consistent with it being there since mid-February. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother.

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

Cunningham had an impressive career in public health, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle named him one of 2017's "40 under 40". He held two degrees from Harvard, and was a graduate of Morehouse College. "Over and above any of his assignments at CDC, his early promotion within the USPHS reflects his excellence as an officer and an employee".

The agency said he'd been deployed to work on numerous public-health emergencies, including Superstorm Sandy, the Ebola outbreak, and the Zika outbreak.

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