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Sgt. Cortez Stafford, the fire-rescue department spokesman said at a news conference on Thursday that the body of Timothy Cunningham, 35, was discovered by fishermen partially submerged in water and mud on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in northwest Atlanta.

Cunningham's disappearance in February had prompted a massive search amid conspiracy theories related to his work with the CDC.

Cunningham left work in the Atlanta office on February 12, saying that he was sick after learning he was passed over for promotion. Dr. Cunningham's parents later discovered their son's cellphone, wallet, keys, vehicle and dog unattended at his home on February 14.

O'Connor said last month he thought the disappearance was "extremely unusual", because all Cunningham's belongings were at his home.

Fulton County Medical Examiner Jan Gorniak told reporters that, based on the condition of the body, it appeared Cunningham went into the water on February 12, the day of his disappearance.

Cunningham was a highly respected epidemiologist at the CDC; previous year he was listed among the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 40 Under 40 list. The CDC officials said that previously the report of Cunningham had been passed over for a promotion was incorrect.

After Cunningham didn't answer calls or text, family members became concerned and had someone check his home.

They said the condition of the body dovetails with when Cunningham was last seen on February 12.

Four times since their son went missing, Cunningham's parents have been told that a body had been found.

"As it stands right now, there's been no foul play indicated to this point", said Major Michael O'Connor, the commander of the Atlanta Police Department's Major Crimes Section, at a press conference Thursday.

"Barring new information coming forward, we may never be able to tell you how he got to the river", Mr. O'Connor said. Cunningham was wearing his favorite jogging shoes when he was found. Cunningham was known to collect these sort of items.

Fire department officials said he was found in an area inaccessible by foot.

O'Connor said he expected to close Cunningham's case in the next month if authorities did not uncover any new information. CDR Cunningham also deployed for numerous public health emergency responses, including Superstorm Sandy, Ebola, and Zika. He was once named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "40 under 40" list. He held two degrees from Harvard, and was a graduate of Morehouse College.

For weeks, authorities scavenged for clues as to where the CDC employee may have been.

When they arrived at his house a few days later, Cunningham's parents said, they knew something was wrong because his Tibetan spaniel was unattended. But the CDC disputed that, saying that Cunningham been promoted to commander effective July 1 "in recognition of his exemplary performance in the U.S. Public Health Service".

Until more reports are released about Cunningham's disappearance, what happened to him still remains a mystery.