Morehouse College hosts memorial of CDC epidemiologist found in river

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Timothy Cunningham’s untimely death remains a mystery to family and law enforcement

Before 35-year-old high-ranking Center for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist, Timothy Cunningham, went to Harvard for graduate degrees in science, he spent his college years at the historically black, all-male, liberal arts Morehouse College.

On Saturday, Morehouse holds a memorial service for Dr. Cunningham at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on campus.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, approximately 600 friends and family attended the “Celebration of Life” service for Dr. Cunningham, who disappeared without a trace in February. His body was found floating in the Chattahoochee River.

His disappearance and death rattle many, but people have been mum in talking about the incident. Ark Republic reached out to some friends who were connected to Dr. Cunningham, but people simply do not have any answers. Even journalist Shaun King, who attended Morehouse with Dr. Cunningham, hit a roadblock in attempting to uncover any information on the events surrounding a death which leave many unanswered questions, according to Black America Web.

First Signs of Trouble

On February 12, Cunningham left work early. Colleagues said that he told them that he did not feel well. That was the last time he was seen.

Two days later, after Dr. Cunningham’s parents, Tia-Juana and Terrell Cunningham, unsuccessfully tried to reach him, they drove to his house to discover that he left his keys, credit cards, and phone at the house. His dog, a Tibetan spaniel, was left unattended. They knew something was wrong.

Family and friends frantically searched for Dr. Cunningham, even calling news agencies for assistance. A $15,000 reward was offered by local police, but it seems that he simply vanished.

During the search, Your News Wire released information about their interview.

Dr. Cunningham shared his opinion that this year’s flu shot was behind the deadly outbreak of the flu, while warning that if his name was attached to the widely-circulated quotes, he would lose his job – or suffer an even worse fate.

Understanding the dangers involved in speaking out about vaccines in the current climate, we granted him anonymity in the article. However Dr. Cunningham told us we should go public should anything happen to him.

A little over seven weeks later, his decomposed body was found floating in a river along the path he ran nearby by his Atlanta suburban home of Riverside.

A  Washington Post story said local law enforcement determined that he most likely drowned, but they were unsure how. In this same report, it says  Dr. Cunningham left “troubling” texts to his mother as his last communication to anyone. A neighbor said, he asked her husband to tell her to “erase his cell phone number” from her phone.

The “Golden Boy”

In a Fox 5 interview with his brother, Anterio Cunningham, he said, “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 has been described as “the Golden boy” by a CDC colleague.

Just months before his disappearance, in October 2017, he was awarded as one of the “40 under 40” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

In a Q&A with the Biz Journal, Dr. Cunningham was asked: Please share a person under 40 you admire, and why you admire them. His response was the following:

“I admire Colin Kaepernick. He’s 29 years old. I think he is fearless for protesting against racial injustice and standing up for what is right. What is most admirable is the fact that he is leveraging his career platform to be a voice for so many voices that are left unheard. He is a great example for all of us, regardless of age.”

The Big Business of Sickness

During the time of Dr. Cunningham’s disappearance, the CDC announced that it was seeking $400 million to replace the 13-year-old state-of-the-art lab used to research the deadliest germs in the world.

In a report by U.S. News, Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University said, “Having a lab being replaced after about 12 years seems unusual.”

Dr. Cunningham, who was also a commander in the US Health Service Corps, performed research on some of the deadliest diseases such as Ebola and Zika viruses. His claim to Your News Wire dramatically contrasted a 2016 report by NBC news that said that the CDC claimed 2016’s “influenza vaccine reduced doctors visits for flu by 42 percent.”

A 2017 report by Yahoo Finance, says that the flu outbreak was the cause of up to 4,000 deaths per week at its height.

CNBC reported that the annual flu vaccine campaign is big business, making about $1.6 billion a year in distributing between 171 million and 179 million shots a year.

According to statistics provided by the CDC, about 44 percent of adults and 60 percent of children receive flu shots..

Cunningham’s Last Hours

On the day of his disappearance, Dr. Cunningham received word that he was denied a promotion, despite praise  for his performance.

His father,Terrell Cunningham said to the New York Times, that Dr. Cunningham had “a lot going on” in his life. When he reached out to his son, he sensed something was wrong. “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,” said his father.

The AJC obituary page for Dr. Cunningham is filled with messages, most from people he did not know, but who are moved by his untimely death.

Since the announcement of the recovery of his body, Cunningham’s family requested time to grieve privately. .

Rather than flowers or gifts to the family, they asked that people donate to a campaign fund that will help restore King’s Chapel at Morehouse, which is currently in fundraising efforts to raise $8 million for the project.

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