Body Of CDC Researcher Who Had Disappeared Is Found

An employee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was reported missing more than seven weeks ago was found drowned in a river not far from his house, with no sign of foul play, authorities said Thursday.

Back in February, CDC colleagues told authorities that Cunningham complained that he was feeling ill and so he left work early.

Gorniak added that the condition of Cunningham's body is "consistent" with having been in the water since the day he went missing and that there were no signs of trauma or underlying medical conditions.

On Tuesday, fishermen reportedly found Cunningham's body in an Atlanta river over seven weeks after Cunningham's February 12 disappearance, thus ending a search that had been ongoing for nearly two months.

Jan Gorniak, Fulton County Medical Examiner, said that the cause of death is "probably" drowning, but several tests, including a toxicology screening, are still pending.

"We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river", Major Michael O'Connor of the Atlanta Police told reporters during a press conference.

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But that wasn't the case on Tuesday, when two fishermen called 911 to report a body. The ones found on Cunningham were described as "rare crystals". The area, though near Cunningham's home, was not accessible by walking, as the police struggled to find a safe place to launch a boat in order to retrieve the remains. In his home, they found his keys, phone, wallet containing his credit and debit cards and identification, and they even found his passport. According to the Atlanta Police Department, he had recently spoken to a supervisor about why he was passed over for a promotion.

The director of the CDC issued a statement last month denying that Cunningham had been denied a promotion, saying he had been promoted in July.

After Cunningham's disappearance, police offered $10,000 as a reward for any clues regarding Cunningham's whereabouts.

Cunningham, 35, was an epidemiologist at the Atlanta-based federal agency.

Cunningham vanished February 12. after telling colleagues at CDC headquarters he was not feeling well. He worked on public health emergencies including Superstorm Sandy, the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus.

"It was very hard terrain, very hard to access the location of where Mr. Cunningham was found", Stafford said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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