A researcher associated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States took a sick leave more than two weeks ago and hasn't been seen since then.
The parents of Harvard graduate Timothy J. Cunningham is offering a $10,000 reward, in partnership with the Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta, for any information related to their son's disappearance.
Cunningham, who is an epidemiologist with CDC, got a promotion in July 2018 at the U.S. Public Health Service in Atlanta. The scientist had contributed to responses after Hurricane Sandy-related health emergencies, as well as Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
He is also well-known within the Atlanta community and earned a place in the 40 under 40 Awards by the Atlanta Business Chronicle last year.
2-Week Sick Leave
The 35-year-old epidemiologist took a sick leave on Feb. 12 after feeling unwell and left work at about midday and disappeared after that.
"I feel like I'm in a horrible 'Black Mirror' episode," said Tiara Cunningham, Cunningham's sister. "I'm kind of lost without him, to be quite honest."
She also added that her last conversation with him on Dec. 12 left her worried because he did not sound like himself. Tiara also added that her brother did not reply to a text message that she had sent as a follow-up. Timothy's parents had driven all night from their house in Waldorf in Maryland to Atlanta and arrived on Feb. 14.
Cunningham's parents also made some worrisome discoveries inside Timothy's home and found that his dog was unattended. The researcher's driving license, cellphone, and wallet were also found inside the house, and his car was in the garage, too.
Cunningham's father, Terrell, also added that his recent conversations with his son were concerning, and he seemed to have a lot of personal and professional issues. Mr. Cunningham said that his son's numerous exchanges and tone gave him reasons to get worried.
"And I don't know if it's an instinct you have because it's your child, but it was not a normal conversation and I was not comfortable," Terrell said.
Atlanta Police Unable To Locate The CDC Scientist
On Sunday, the Atlanta police said that it was still not able to find Cunningham, after knowing about his disappearance on Feb. 16. The police added that were banking on public awareness to help get leads. At this moment in time, foul play is still not suspected, police spokesman Donald T. Hannah has stated.
"Timothy J. Cunningham, ScD, is a team lead with CDC’s Division of Population Health. His research has been oriented towards understanding health differences related to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and geography," reads the researcher's official biography on the CDC official site.
The agency said that Cunningham is a member of the CDC family who is highly respected; however, it has not returned the request for a comment.