Home Health News CDC Employee Is Missing Nearly Two Weeks After Leaving Work Sick

CDC Employee Is Missing Nearly Two Weeks After Leaving Work Sick

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The authorities in Atlanta announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case of a missing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who disappeared about two weeks ago.

The employee, Timothy J. Cunningham, 35, was promoted to commander in the United States Public Health Service in July, his family said. According to the police, he was last seen on Feb. 12.

“I feel like I’m in a horrible ‘Black Mirror’ episode,” Commander Cunningham’s sister, Tiara Cunningham, said in a phone interview on Saturday. “I’m kind of lost without him, to be quite honest.”

Ms. Cunningham, 27, was the last family member to speak with Commander Cunningham before he went missing, she said.

Although they live in different states — Ms. Cunningham in Fayetteville, N.C., and her brother in Atlanta — they are best friends and it is not unusual for them to talk multiple times a day, she said. But their brief phone conversation on Feb. 12 was a little different from most.

“He sounded not like himself,” she said, without elaborating. They ended the conversation the way they always do: “Love you. I’ll talk to you later.”

When she texted him later, she didn’t get a response. Neither did her mother, who tried to contact him that afternoon.

“That was really weird,” Ms. Cunningham said, adding that she was “devastated” by her brother’s absence.

Their father, Terrell Cunningham, 60, said his son’s supervisor told him that Commander Cunningham had reported for work but that he had left midday because he wasn’t feeling well.

When the family had difficulty contacting him, they asked a relative to check his home. The house and the garage were locked, and two windows were open.

Commander Cunningham’s father and his mother, Tia-Juana Cunningham, 60, drove all night from their home in Waldorf, Md., arriving in Atlanta early in the morning on Feb. 14.

“I just did not know what to expect,” Terrell Cunningham said. “You’re somewhat fearful and you’re praying.”

They used a spare key to enter their son’s home, where he lived alone with his dog, Mr. Bojangles, known as Bo. The dog had been left unattended, which was uncharacteristic for Commander Cunningham, Terrell Cunningham said.

They also discovered their son’s wallet, his cellphone, the keys to his car and various forms of identification, including his driver’s license and passport. His car was in the garage, Terrell Cunningham said.

Commander Cunningham had “a lot going on” personally and professionally, his father added, and his most recent conversation with his son had left him worried.

“The tone, and the numerous exchanges gave us reason to be concerned about Tim,” Terrell Cunningham said. “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.”

The police are investigating the disappearance.

“As of today we have been unable to locate Mr. Cunningham and we are seeking the assistance of the public with this case,” Officer Donald T. Hannah of the Atlanta Police Department said in an email on Saturday.

The police have found no evidence of foul play, he added. Commander Cunningham’s family has teamed up with Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta to offer a $10,000 reward.

Commander Cunningham’s family described him as gentle, driven, introspective and meticulous. He has two degrees from Harvard’s School of Public Health, according to the C.D.C.’s website, and has been deployed for public health emergencies such as outbreaks of Ebola and the Zika virus. He was also selected as one of The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 Award winners.

Anterio Cunningham, 41, his older brother, said the disappearance “totally goes against not just our core principles as a family but also his personality.”

Commander Cunningham was the kind of person who sent people handwritten notes and encouraged his siblings to excel at school, he said.

The family says that they have no idea what might have happened, but that they are trying to stay positive. For now, there are more questions than answers.

“This is just so out of the realm of, I don’t know,” Anterio Cunningham said, his voice trailing off. “Like, never in a million years would I have thought this.”


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