CDC Doctor Has Been Missing For Five Weeks. We Still Don’t Know What Happened

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist Dr. Timothy Cunningham has been missing for more than five weeks, and police still don’t know why he suddenly disappeared.

Cunningham was last seen on Feb. 12 after he left work early, telling co-workers he felt ill. After two days of no contact, family members went to his Atlanta home to find his cell phone, keys, wallet, car and dog — but no Timothy. The door was locked, but two windows were open.

Authorities are still working on getting to the bottom of Cunningham’s sudden disappearance. The Atlanta Police Department did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s inquiries, and the CDC said it had no new information to share.

“We have no new information to share,” CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben told TheDCNF. “Dr. Cunningham’s colleagues and friends at CDC hope that he is safe.”

“We want him to return to his loved ones and his work — doing what he does best as a CDC disease detective — protecting people’s health,” Harben said.

Cunningham, 35, is a highly respected epidemiologist who also worked on U.S. government response teams to the Ebola and Zika viruses. He began working at the CDC in 2010 and holds two degrees from Harvard University.

Cunningham’s sudden disappearance has baffled his family, whom he was close to and contacted on a regular basis. Police say Cunningham was informed why he was not given a promotion the same day he disappeared, but the CDC says that’s not true.

CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said Cunningham received “an early promotion/exceptional proficiency promotion to Commander” in late 2017 “in recognition of his exemplary performance.”

By all accounts, Cunningham enjoyed his work at CDC and was an active member of the community.

However, Cunningham’s parents, Terrell and Tia-Juana, said something seemed amiss in conversations with their son the night before he disappeared. Tia-Juana said she received a text from her son at 5:21 a.m. asking “Are you awake?”

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

A few days before that, Cunningham asked his neighbor for a strange request.

“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,” Chris Torry, Cunningham’s neighbor, told WAGA.

“It seemed a bit strange,” Torry said.

Atlanta police Maj. Michael O’Connor said Cunningham did not have access to CDC’s infectious disease unit, which would be a national security concern. Still, police are unsure of why Cunningham went missing.

“He had no access to classified material,” said O’Connor. “He would not be the type of person that, you know, if you kidnapped him and held him, he could give you access to some horrific virus that could be a real problem for the rest of us.”

There’s a $15,000 reward for any information that can help wrap up the case. Cunningham’s family has raised $24,000 as a reward for tips in the case.

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