Missing CDC worker's body recovered in Atlanta river

Timothy Cunningham a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee

Timothy Cunningham a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee

Then, on Tuesday night, a badly decomposed body was found in the Chattahoochee River behind the Atlanta Public Safety Annex located along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway near the city limits.

The body of an employee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was reported missing more than six weeks ago has been found in an Atlanta river, police said Thursday.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist Timothy Cunningham went missing on February 12, much to the worry of his family.

In the tweet, it said that the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the body recovered in the Chattahoochee River as Timothy Cunningham.

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Described as a highly respected epidemiologist - a "golden boy" by one colleague - for the CDC, the 35-year-old vanished after he left work on the morning of February 12, telling his CDC colleagues he wasn't feeling well.

"We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river", O'Connor said. Michael O'Connor of the Atlanta police department told reporters Thursday, reported ABC News. O'Connor said the river wasn't that far from Cunningham's home.

The only things police could confirm from the scene were that Cunningham was wearing his jogging suit where he was found and had three small crystals - similar to those police said he collected - in his pocket.

In the days after he went missing, Cunningham's case drew intense media scrutiny and speculation about what had happened in what police called "unusual" circumstances. They believe that he drowned and no foul play was at hand, PEOPLE reports.

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When he left work later in the day it was the last time he was known to have been seen alive.

"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", a March 12 statement from the agency said, in part.

The Associated Press reported he had been distraught after being passed over for a promotion.

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". So was his beloved Tibetan spaniel, which concerned his family.

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Cunningham's father told The New York Times in February that he'd been anxious about his son recently because he didn't seem like his usual self in conversation.

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