On February 12, CDC scientist Timothy Cunningham, 35, vanished after leaving work early because he reportedly didn’t feel. Nearly two months later, on Thursday, April 5, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed the body of Cunningham was found in the Chattahoochee River, which is not far from his home. The Atlanta Police Department had previously searched the Chattahoochee River on February 23, but did not find Cunningham. On April 3, police were called out to the same area after fisherman found a partially submerged body.
The death was believed to be a drowning, but Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Gorniak was unsure of the exact cause and manner of death, until now.
CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV reports, according to Gorniak, Cunningham died of suicide by drowning. However, AJC.com points out “it remains unclear how exactly he first entered the water.” According to the autopsy report, his parents said he had mood swings but was never diagnosed with depression. There were reports the CDC turned him down for a promotion, which the CDC denied, claiming he received a promotion several months before. There were also false reports that Cunningham said back in January that the flu vaccine was causing deaths and he was a whistle-blower, which was proven to be a hoax.
AJC.com reported, “His parents also questioned whether he could have been given some type of drug that changed his behavior in the days before his disappearance.” However, “Toxicology tests performed on his body showed Cunningham had marijuana in his system, but there were no other significant findings.” There were also no signs of trauma.
Atlanta police reportedly have closed the investigation into his disappearance and death. Nonetheless, Cunningham’s death still sounds peculiar, considering no one is able to determine how his body made it into the water.
Timothy Cunningham was a Morehouse graduate and an esteemed scientist who was a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree by Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Our condolences goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. Rest in peace, Timothy Cunningham.