The body of Timothy Cunningham, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist who mysteriously disappeared two months ago, was found late Tuesday in an Atlanta river that runs near his home, police said Thursday.
In the tweet, it said that the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the body recovered in the Chattahoochee River as Timothy Cunningham. They believe that he drowned and no foul play was at hand, PEOPLE reports.
"The major drivers of this are decreases in numerous leading causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke", Cunningham told NPR's Rob Stein. He said fire-rescue officials were unable to access the bank to retrieve the body, forcing them to go upstream and carefully move Cunningham's body further downstream. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.
Cunningham, 35, was last seen on February 12.
There were no signs of foul play and the preliminary cause of death is drowning, the medical examiner said. According to the Atlanta Police Department, he had recently spoken to a supervisor about why he was passed over for a promotion. Police previously called his disappearance unusual but said there had been no indications of attack on Cunningham. "His keys, his cellphone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all of his identification, passports". O'Connor said the department's missing person investigation could come to a close in the next few weeks.
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The article said he was continuing on his family's path into the medical field; his father was an Air Force nurse for 30 years, and his mother worked for the state health department as a program manager. His sister, Tiara Cunningham, the last family member who spoke with Cunningham before he disappeared, said she felt lost without her brother.
Friends said Cunningham was smart and caring, with a big grin and big hugs to match.
His CDC biography says he was a "team lead" with the Division of Population Health and had deployed for several public health emergencies "including Superstorm Sandy, Ebola, and Zika".
Cunningham's work at the CDC fueled speculation and conspiracy theories about his disappearance, including one dubious story on a website that said Cunningham disappeared amid warnings that his patients were dying from botched flu vaccines. "As a parent, you have indicators when things are just not right with your child, and that was the case".
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