Police still following leads in 'unusual' disappearance of CDC employee

- The Atlanta Police Department said it is still following leads in the search for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who went missing earlier in February.

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Atlanta Police Department Major Michael O'Connor said that Timothy Cunningham was last seen leaving work early on Feb. 12, saying he didn't feel well. Police believe that Cunningham made it to his northwest Atlanta home, but from there the trail goes cold.

On that morning, O'Connor said, Cunningham went to work after calling his sister. He talked with his supervisor about a promotion to branch manager that he didn't receive and then left the office. Cunningham had called in sick the previous two workdays, O'Connor said.

From there, Cunningham disappears. O'Connor said Cunningham's house seemed secured other than two windows on the upper level which were open.

"The most unusual fact, in this case, is that every single belonging that we are aware of was located in the residence," O'Connor said. "So his keys, cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all of his identification, passports – anything you can think of we've been able to locate."

Neighbors have helped in the search for Cunningham. They have handed out fliers at local businesses and posted them on utility poles around their neighborhood. They also have even formed their own search team.

"We walked a bunch of the paths around here and searched the abandoned homes down the street. We did a canvas of the area and looked everywhere we could up and down and screamed his name," said one neighbor.

Neighbor Chris Torry said just a couple of days before he disappeared, Cunningham made an unusual request.

"My wife and him and swapped phone numbers, Saturday, Tim called over to me from across the way and told me to take his number out of her phone.  It seemed a bit strange," said Torry.

With each passing day, the mystery deepened and neighbors grow more concerned.

"We want to keep our hopes up that he's safe and he'll come home soon," said one neighbor.

RELATED: $10K reward being offered in case of missing CDC employee

Police said that they've worked with the CDC, have checked his activity, phone records, and email and have searched all nearby areas.

O'Connor said there's no evidence suggesting foul play – or anything else. He did say that the CDC didn't believe the fact that Cunningham didn't receive a promotion would affect him in a major way.

"This is an extremely unusual set of circumstances," O'Connor said. "We deal with missing person cases fairly regularly here. The circumstances on this one, just beyond the fact that he's a CDC employee, but just as a general person are unusual."

The 35-year-old Morehouse and Harvard alumni works as an epidemiologist at the CDC in Chamblee.

"Tim is the consummate professional. He loves his job. He wouldn't just cast it aside. He's worked hard to get where he is," Cunningham's brother, Anterio, said.

Cunningham's family has partnered with Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta to offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case, according to Atlanta police.

The other odd comment police revealed is that Cunningham asked a neighbor to have his wife delete Cunningham's number from her phone. That unusual request came the day before his disappearance. 

Anyone with information on Cunningham's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Atlanta Police Department at 404-546-4235.

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