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Body Of Missing CDC Researcher Found, Police Confirm

CBS Local -- A CDC researcher who went missing over seven weeks ago has been found dead in a Georgia river.

Timothy Cunningham, a commander in the United States Public Health Service and epidemiologist with the CDC, was last seen leaving on Feb. 12 after filing for sick leave at his Atlanta office. Atlanta police confirm that a body pulled from the Chattahoochee River on April 3 was the missing scientist.

The local medical examiner has ruled the cause of Cunningham's death was drowning and there are currently no signs of foul play, according to local police.

Cunningham's family claimed that the 35-year-old had been behaving very strangely before vanishing without a trace two months ago. "I don't know if it's an instinct you have because it's your child, but it was not a normal conversation and I was not comfortable," Terrell Cunningham said about one of the last phone calls he had with his son.

The search for the missing scientist started after family members found Cunningham's dog home alone, with his keys, wallet, and car still at the Atlanta residence on Feb. 14. During an April 5 press conference, Atlanta police could not explain why the CDC worker did not have any of his belongings with him when he died.

The CDC says Cunningham was a team leader in the agency's Division of Population Health and had worked on numerous emergency cases including the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. A report that the 35-year-old was recently unhappy about being passed over for a promotion was later retracted by the CDC.

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