Before Vanishing, CDC Doctor Made Odd Request to Neighbor

Timothy Cunningham learned why he wouldn't be promoted at last sighting
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2018 8:02 AM CST
Major Michael O'Connor, Atlanta Police Department Major Crimes Commander, speaks at a Tuesday press conference on missing CDC researcher Timothy Cunningham.   (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
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(Newser) – The Harvard-educated doctor missing for more than two weeks had recently been denied a promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an explanation provided to him on the day he was last seen. After arriving at work on Feb. 12, Timothy Cunningham met with his supervisor, who gave reasons why Cunningham did not receive the promotion, a decision Cunningham was informed of a week earlier, Atlanta Police Maj. Michael O'Connor said Tuesday, per ABC News. Cunningham, who'd called in sick on the two previous workdays, then asked to go home because he wasn't feeling well. It's believed Cunningham placed an unanswered call to his mother while driving to his Atlanta home, where police have since located everything Cunningham owned, from his car, wallet, and passport, to his dog, O'Connor says, per WXIA.

While colleagues say Cunningham was "obviously disappointed" not to get the promotion, police believe his work at the CDC is unrelated to his disappearance. Aiming to quash conspiracy theories involving a kidnapping plot and biological agents, O'Connor notes Cunningham "had no access to classified material," per CNN. "Everything seemed to be going very, very well for him—and then for him to disappear, it just doesn't add up," says the CEO of Leadership Atlanta, where Cunningham held a high-level volunteer position. Yet Cunningham's parents say they were alarmed by texts and a phone call they received from their son the night before he disappeared. Without elaborating on either exchange, O'Connor said Tuesday that Cunningham also told a neighbor to have his wife delete Cunningham's phone number from her contacts.

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