CDC: Missing employee received early promotion

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The sudden disappearance of 35-year-old Timothy Cunningham has left heartbroken loved ones and colleagues baffled and an old dog named Bo longing for his best friend.

Monday, the acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the agency's first statement since the epidemiologist left his office at the CDC facility in Chamblee in the middle of the day on February 12.

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Dr. Anne Schuchat stating in part, "If Tim reads this message, we hope you come soon."

But the acting director also took time clarify issues regarding Cunningham's career. In the statement, she refers to "news coverage that Commander Cunningham recently did not receive a promotion...this information is incorrect," she said.

Dr. Schuchat's statement goes on to read, "Cunningham received an early promotion/exceptional proficiency promotion to Commander effective July 1st 2017. That statement contradicts what Atlanta police said during a news conference on February 27th.”

Last week, Cunningham's father released photos of the July promotional ceremony, hoping to set the record straight about his son's career and his demeanor on the day the epidemiologist left work.

Loved ones previously told FOX 5 News he left early because he was feeling ill. According to Atlanta Police, CDC employees told APD investigators Cunningham left because he was upset that he did not get a promotion.

MORE: Family of missing CDC worker increases reward to $15K

Monday's statement from the CDC surely validates the family's efforts to set the record straight, stating "over and above any of his assignments at CDC, his early promotion within the United States Public Health Service reflects his excellence as an officer and an employee."

The Cunningham's have helped fund a $15,000 Crime Stoppers reward to help generate solid leads in their son's disappearance.