Missing CDC worker's body recovered in Atlanta river

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Officials confirm a body found late Tuesday evening in the Chattahoochee River is that of a CDC scientist who went missing over a month ago.

The preliminary cause of death appears to be drowning.

"It's not the type of news you want to hear", Terrell Cunningham, the 35-year-old's father had said.

The infections in Lowell and Lawrence have occurred largely among the homeless and people who inject drugs, authorities said Thursday. The scientist was wearing his favorite running shoes, O'Connor added.

Timothy Cunningham, a commander in the United States Public Health Service and epidemiologist with the CDC, was last seen leaving on February 12 after filing for sick leave at his Atlanta office.

The 35-year-old, who was last seen on February 12, did not have any signs of injuries or foul play to his body and the preliminary results of an autopsy determined that he likely drowned, Fulton County Medical Examiner Jan Gorniak said.

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Police previously had said they had no evidence of foul play, but could not rule it out.

The case perplexed investigators because Cunningham's keys, cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet and all forms of identification were found in his house, along with his beloved dog.

"The most unusual factor in this case is that every single belonging that we are aware of was located in the residence", O'Connor previously told reporters. The manner of death, however, has yet to be determined.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Cunningham was last seen leaving work after complaining to co-workers that he wasn't feeling well. In the statement, it said that Cunningham had in fact received an early promotion for his outstanding work.

The New York Times reports his family said their last phone conversations with Cunningham had left them anxious and "he sounded not like himself".

Friends also found the disappearance troublingly out of character. His work as a Public Health Service commander including responding to public health emergencies such as the Ebola virus and Zika virus. WSB-TV reported that the esteemed doctor had texted his mother at 5:21 a.m. and then called her at 9:12 a.m. on Feb.12. "I can't tell you that he was jogging, but those two things together seem to indicate that that's a possibility". Timothy's family stated that he had a conversation with them the day before he vanished, that had left them concerned.