According to Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos, Cunningham’s remains were pulled from the Chattahoochee River on April 3, over seven weeks after he disappeared on Feb. 12. An autopsy confirmed that the body belonged to the missing doctor.
Fulton County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Gorniak said on Thursday that there were no signs of foul play and that Cunningham’s preliminary cause of death is believed to be drowning. His actual manner of death has not yet been determined.
It is also not yet known how Cunningham’s body ended up in its final location.
“We may never be able to tell you how he got into the river,” Major Michael O’Connor of the Atlanta Police told reporter during a press conference.
Cunningham, a highly regarded epidemiologist at the CDC, disappeared without a trace after he left work mid-day in February, complaining of feeling ill.
After Cunningham failed to report to work or contact his family for two days following his disappearance, his parents, Terrell and Tia-Juana Cunningham, drove down to Georgia from their house in Maryland to check on their son.
When they arrived at his Atlanta home on Feb. 14, the couple found their son’s phone, keys, wallet, car and dog, with no trace of him in sight.
The unusual circumstances surrounding Cunningham’s disappearance baffled authorities for weeks until his remains were discovered on Tuesday.