Health News

Missing CDC Employee Not Passed Over For Promotion

The acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement on Monday regarding the disappearance of CDC worker Timothy Cunningham, a 35-year-old epidemiologist who was last seen on February 12.

Contrary to circulating news reports, Cunningham was not passed over for a promotion, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat. Atlanta Police had said that the employee was told he would not be receiving a promotion the week before he disappeared, CBS News reports.

Schuchat said,

As many of his colleagues…have pointed out, this information is incorrect.

Schuchat explained that Cunningham was actually promoted to commander effective on July 1 “in recognition of his exemplary performance in the US Public Health Service,” which is a uniformed corps in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Atlanta Police Maj. Michael O’Connor had previously stated in a news conference last month that Cunningham failed to obtain a promotion to branch manager and met with his supervisor to discuss the issue one week before he went missing. He left work early on that day, claiming he was not feeling well.

Viviana Tory, Cunningham’s next-door neighbor, said that Cunningham had told her husband something odd on the same day. Tory said, “He told my husband to tell his wife – me – to erase his cellphone number from my cellphone.”

On Monday, Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee told CBS News that they are standing firm on the statements they have given regarding Cunningham’s disappearance. Chafee said, “Our information came directly from the CDC.” He then referred further questions on the matter to Schuchat’s latest statement.

Schuchat said they have not given up hope that Cunningham will soon be found, “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.”

A reward for information that might point to criminal involvement in Cunningham’s disappearance was raised to $15,000 last week.

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