CDC doctor's disappearance: Parents share chilling last text message from missing son

The parents of missing doctor Timothy Cunningham shared the last text message they received from their son before his disappearance two weeks ago.

Cunningham, a highly regarded epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, went missing after he left work mid-day on Feb. 12, complaining of feeling ill.

After Cunningham, 35, failed to report to work or contact his family over the next two days, his parents, Terrell and Tia-Juana Cunningham, drove down to Georgia from their house in Maryland to check on their son.

When they arrived at his Atlanta home on Feb. 14, the couple found their son's phone, keys, wallet, car and dog, with no trace of him in sight.

His worried father told NBC that his son would never leave his beloved dog, Beau, home alone like that.

"Tim never leaves Beau unattended," Terrell Cunningham, 60, said. "He just doesn't do it."

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CDC doctor Timothy Cunningham
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CDC doctor Timothy Cunningham

Timothy Cunningham was last seen leaving work on Feb. 12. 

His distraught parents drove down to Georgia from their house in Maryland to check on their son.
When they arrived at his Atlanta home on Feb. 14, the couple found their son's phone, keys, wallet, car and dog, with no trace of him in sight.
His worried father told NBC that his son would never leave his beloved dog, Beau, home alone like that.
CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben described Cunningham as "a highly respected member of our CDC family."
Cunningham's family and the Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta are offering a $10,000 reward for tips regarding the case. 
Anyone with information on his disappearance is urged to call 911 or the Atlanta Police Homicide/Adult Missing Persons Unit at 404-546-4235.
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Cunningham's parents said they began to suspect that something was amiss with their son on the night of Feb. 11, after they spoke with him on the phone.

"As a parent, you have indicators when things are just not right with your child, and that was the case," Terrell Cunningham said.

Cunningham's mother said she received a final text message from her son at 5:21 a.m. on the day he was last seen, but that she didn't get a chance to respond to it since her phone was on silent mode.

"Are you awake?" Tia-Juana Cunningham says her son texted her.

"I wish I had that opportunity to answer that text," she lamented.

According to the CDC, Timothy Cunningham worked as a commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and has responded to both the Ebola virus and the Zika virus outbreaks. He holds two degrees from Harvard University.

CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben described Cunningham as "a highly respected member of our CDC family."

"Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time," she added.

Cunningham's family and the Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta are offering a $10,000 reward for tips regarding the case. 

Anyone with information on his disappearance is urged to call 911 or the Atlanta Police Homicide/Adult Missing Persons Unit at 404-546-4235.

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