Body of missing CDC researcher found in Atlanta river

"We may never be able to tell you", he said, noting there wasn't any surveillance footage in the area that would help piece together his final movements.

Investigators and Cunningham's family located his personal belongings, including his keys, wallet, cell phone and even his dog, Mr. Bojangles all at his home in Northwest Atlanta.

On Thursday afternoon, Atlanta police confirmed the body had been positively identified as Cunningham.

A body found late Tuesday night in the Chattahoochee River is that of a CDC scientist who went missing more than a month ago, officials said on Thursday.

Cunningham was an epidemiologist in the CDC's chronic disease unit. The river had been searched previously, but people fishing spotted Cunningham's body and called 911 Tuesday.

"Dr. Cunningham's colleagues and friends at CDC hope that he is safe", Burden said.

During a news conference, police said there is no indication of foul play, and while they are still waiting on a final report from the medical examiner, it appears that Cunningham drowned.

Cunningham, a commander in the Public Health Service who responded to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and the Zika virus, disappeared on February 12 after he said he was sick and left his Atlanta office.

However, almost two weeks later, the CDC said that information was untrue.

Earlier that morning, at 5:21 a.m., Cunningham's mother had received a text message from him, she has said. He earned a spot previous year in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 Under 40 list, a who's who of the city's young standouts.

A Morehouse College and Harvard University graduate, Cunningham has played a pivotal role in addressing past public health emergencies - including the Ebola and Zika viruses.

"We've shared that with the detectives, and we've kept that as a private matter", his father said.

Police said they "knew he was a collector of crystals". Stafford said that rescue crews had to use boats and special equipment to reach Cunningham's body because it was located in hard terrain in a "remote area not easily accessible". "I won't call it a dark place, but they are lows".

  • Santos West