Body of missing CDC worker found; no signs of foul play

Body of missing CDC worker found; no signs of foul play

Body of missing CDC worker found; no signs of foul play

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doctor's body was discovered in a Georgia river after he had disappeared in February, police said Thursday.

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.

The circumstances of Cunningham's death remain unclear, but the police said they don't suspect foul play in the case, and they believe he drowned somehow.

"He has this pristine service record and background, and then he's also the guy you can call to help you move furniture or get together with you at a restaurant at the end of a long day", close friend David Calloway told NBC News almost 12 days after Cunningham's disappearance.

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. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.

Cunningham drove off that day and was never seen alive again, even as his auto, credit and debit cards, dog, keys, and cellphone were all recovered at his home, the police said.

O'Connor has stressed that investigators have not uncovered any evidence that Cunningham's promotion snub was directly linked to his disappearance. Police previously called his disappearance unusual but said there had been no indications of attack on Cunningham. The medical examiner found no ante- or postmortem wounds on Cunningham's body after he was recovered from the river.

Cunningham's family claimed that the 35-year-old had been behaving very strangely before vanishing without a trace two months ago.

The manner of death has not been determined at this time, the medical examiner said.

With more than 16 years of experience in public health, he'd co-authored 28 publications on topics ranging from sleep deprivation to pulmonary disease, with a special focus on how health issues affect minorities.

Cunningham was last seen leaving working early on February 12. In a statement, the CDC said Cunningham received an "exceptional proficiency promotion" July 1 to the position of commander, an early promotion reflecting his excellence as an employee.

Cunningham reportedly called his sister the morning he was last seen.

When they arrived at his house a few days later, Cunningham's parents said, they knew something was wrong because his Tibetan spaniel was unattended.

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