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Missing CDC worker Timothy Cunningham drowned, no sign of foul play, police say

Missing CDC worker found

ATLANTA -- A body found in the Chattahoochee River has been identified as missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee Timothy Cunningham, authorities announced Thursday. Fulton County Chief medical examiner Jan Gorniak determined Cunningham drowned in the river. She says there were no signs of foul play.

Atlanta fire-rescue department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said at a news conference Thursday that a fisherman found the body of the 35-year-old on Tuesday and called authorities.   

Stafford says the body was partially submerged in water and mud on the west bank of the river. He says the body was found in an area that authorities had already searched in February without finding anything.   

Cunningham, who worked as an epidemiologist in the CDC's chronic disease unit, had been missing since Feb. 12 in Georgia. He left work early that day saying he wasn't feeling well, and wasn't seen again.

Missing CDC worker told neighbor to delete his phone number

Police said Cunningham had been disappointed about being passed over for a promotion in February. But the CDC disputed that, saying that Cunningham been promoted to commander effective July 1 "in recognition of his exemplary performance in the U.S. Public Health Service."

According to Cunningham's next-door neighbor, Viviana Tory, Cunningham said something odd to her husband the day he went missing. 

"He told my husband to tell his wife -- me -- to erase his cellphone number from my cellphone," Tory said. 

Cunningham's parents reported him missing on Feb. 16 after they went to his home and found his belongings and vehicle there. 

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