- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday is has “not given up hope” that one of its disease trackers will be found after mysteriously vanishing from the Atlanta area one month ago.

Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat also said Dr. Tim Cunningham, an epidemiologist, had been promoted within the past year, pushing back at reports he’d been passed over for a new position before disappearing.

She said Dr. Cunningham had been given an early promotion to the rank of commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, effective July 1 of last year, for his “exemplary performance.”

“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,” Dr. Schuchat said Monday.

Dr. Cunningham, a 35-year-old educated at Morehouse College and Harvard University, was last seen or heard from Feb. 12.

His parents contacted Atlanta police on Feb. 14, after he failed to report for work and they were unable to contact him, police said. The parents had entered Dr. Cunningham’s house and, finding his wallet and other belongings, decided to call the authorities.

Efforts to find Dr. Cunningham in the woods near his home turned up empty, according to press reports.

Police didn’t find evidence of foul play, though the department said it “is our practice to explore any and every possibility in a case such as this one.”

During a Feb. 27 press conference, police said Dr. Cunningham had told co-workers before he left Feb. 12 that he was feeling ill and upset about being passed over for a new job.

“We stand behind every statement the Atlanta Police Department made about Dr. Cunningham’s employment, as our information came directly from the CDC,” Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee said. “Any further questions about Dr. Cunningham’s employment, or this statement issued by the CDC today, would need to be answered by the CDC.”

Asked to clarify if Dr. Cunningham might have been in the running for another promotion, CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben said she did not have any information beyond the agency’s initial statement.

A GoFundMe page set a $10,000 goal to sponsor a reward for credible information leading to Dr. Cunningham, though it’s already brought in $24,000.

The Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta last week increased the official reward from $10,000 to $15,000.

Tim is a very loving, brilliant, and responsible young man. Therefore, his sudden disappearance is highly irregular and very much out of character for him,” the GoFundMe page says. “His friends, family, and colleagues are desperately searching for him.”

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