Police: Missing CDC worker drowned; no sign of foul play

Timothy Cunningham. (Atlanta Police Department)

An employee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was reported missing more than six weeks ago drowned, authorities said Thursday.

Timothy Cunningham's body was found Tuesday partially submerged in water and mud on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta, fire-rescue department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said at a news conference. Fulton County Chief medical examiner Jan Gorniak, who determined the cause of death, said there were no signs of foul play.

A fisherman first discovered Cunningham's body and called authorities, said Stafford, who noted the body was found in an area that authorities had already searched in February without finding anything.

Cunningham, 35, was an epidemiologist at the Atlanta-based federal agency. He disappeared Feb. 12. His family reported him missing on Feb. 16 after going to his home and finding his belongings and vehicle there.

Police previously had said they had no evidence of foul play but couldn't rule it out. The civilian group Crime Stoppers offered a reward of up to $15,000 for information pointing to any criminal activity.

CDC officials said previously that reports Cunningham had been passed over for a promotion were incorrect. In a statement, the CDC said Cunningham received an "exceptional proficiency promotion" July 1 to the position of commander, an early promotion reflecting his excellence as an employee.

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