Police identify body of missing CDC epidemiologist — No signs of foul play: 4 things to know

Atlanta officials confirmed the death of Dr. Timothy Cunningham, a 35-year-old epidemiologist with the CDC who was last seen nearly two months ago, during an April 5 press conference.

Here are four things to know.

1. Dr. Cunningham's body was found April 3 in a remote area alongside the Chattahoochee River. Fulton County's Chief Medical Examiner Jan Gorniak, DO, said the positive identification was confirmed by dental records and that the preliminary cause of death was drowning. There were no indications of foul play. Dr. Groniak could not confirm whether the manner of death "was an accident or suicide or anything [else]."

2. Officials described the area as remote and difficult to get to by vehicle or foot. Maj. Michael O'Connor of the Atlanta Police said the investigation is ongoing and that investigators are still awaiting the results of a couple more tests, but anticipates the investigation should be resolved within a month. However, the exact means by which Dr. Cunningham got to the river may never be revealed.

"Barring new information coming forward, we may never be able to tell you how he got to the river," Mr. O'Connor said.

3. Dr. Cunningham was the team lead for the CDC's division of population health and an alumnus of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. He was last seen leaving work Feb. 12 after telling colleagues he didn't feel well. Dr. Cunningham's parents later discovered their son's cellphone, wallet, keys, car and dog unattended at his home on Feb. 14.

4. In early March, multiple media outlets, citing comments from an Atlanta police official, reported Dr. Cunningham met with a supervisor Feb. 12 to discuss why he hadn't received a promotion the week before he went missing. The Atlanta police have maintained that the CDC was the source of this information. On March 12, Anne Schuchat, MD, who was then acting director of the agency, refuted the media reports.

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