CDC doctor's disappearance: Agency shares update on missing employee Timothy Cunningham

The acting director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that an employee who went missing over a month ago was not recently passed up for a promotion, as police had previously reported.

Timothy Cunningham, a highly regarded epidemiologist at the CDC, disappeared without a trace after he left work mid-day on Feb. 12, complaining of feeling ill.

Atlanta Police Department Major Michael O'Connor had initially said that on the morning of Cunningham's disappearance, the 35-year-old doctor spoke with his supervisor about a promotion that he didn't receive and expressed disappointment to several coworkers about being passed up for the position.

However, in a statement released on Monday, acting CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said that information was not accurate.

"There has been news coverage that Commander Cunningham recently did not receive a promotion," Dr. Schuchat said. "As many of his colleagues in the USPHS have pointed out, this information is incorrect."

Dr. Schuchat continued on to say that Cunningham received "an early promotion/exceptional proficiency promotion to Commander," which went into effect on July 1, 2017, "in recognition of his exemplary performance."

"We have not given up hope that he will soon be found," she said. "If Tim reads this message, we hope you come home soon. If anyone reading this has information about the whereabouts of Commander Cunningham, please come forward."

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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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The unusual circumstances surrounding Cunningham's disappearance have continued to baffle authorities.

After Cunningham failed to report to work or contact his family for two days following his Feb. 12 disappearance, 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.

Adding even more mystery to the bizarre case, Chris Torry, a neighbor of Cunningham's, told WAGA that the CDC employee made a strange request a few days before he disappeared.

"My wife and him and swapped phone numbers. Saturday, Tim called over to me from across the way and told me to take his number out of her phone," he told the station. "It seemed a bit strange."

Cunningham's family and the Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta are offering a $15,000 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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