A missing employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was disappointed he didn’t receive a promotion and told a Georgia neighbor to delete his phone number shortly before vanishing earlier this month, reports said on Tuesday.
Timothy Cunningham, an epidemiologist at the CDC, left authorities scavenging for clues after the 35-year-old left work early on Feb. 12 and never returned. Cunningham had called his sister that morning and talked to his supervisor about a promotion he didn’t receive, FOX5 Atlanta reported. He reportedly told several coworkers he was disappointed after not being promoted to be a branch manager.
"This is an extremely unusual set of circumstances," Atlanta Police Department Major Michael O’Connor said Tuesday. "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."
Authorities believe Cunningham made it to his home in Atlanta — but nothing else indicates where he may be now. In the CDC employee’s house, nothing seemed unusual and the residence seemed secured aside from two windows being open, according to O’Connor.
"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."
Cunningham also called out of work sick the two days before the last time he was seen.
Chris Torry, a neighbor of Cunningham’s, told FOX5 Atlanta the CDC employee made an unusual request a few days before he disappeared.
"This is an extremely unusual set of circumstances."
"My wife and him swapped phone numbers…[On] 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," Torry recalled.
O’Connor said there’s no evidence of foul play, however, it couldn't be ruled out.
Neighbors have contributed to the search for Cunningham by posting flyers around the neighborhood. Cunningham’s brother, Anterio, said Cunningham loved his job and “wouldn’t just cast it aside.”
"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," he said.
The family partnered with Greater Atlanta’s Crime Stoppers to offer a $10,000 reward for information in Cunningham’s disappearance.