Missing epidemiologist was not passed over for promotion — CDC chief

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Despite reports he disappeared right after he was passed over for a promotion, Dr. Schuchat said he'd been given an "early" promotion to the rank of commander, effective July 1 of a year ago, for his "exemplary performance".

Cunningham, 35, hasn't been seen or heard from since leaving work sick on Monday, Feb. 12. Police said Cunningham reported to work February 12 but told colleagues he didn't feel well and left early.

Countering reports that Cunningham disappeared after he was allegedly passed over for a promotion, the CDC, through acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat, wrote that the reports are incorrect and that Cunningham was actually given an early promotion to Commander in the summer of 2017.

That is now in apparent dispute by the CDC.

Adding even more mystery to the freaky case, Chris Torry, a neighbor of Cunningham's, told WAGA that the CDC employee made a unusual request a few days before he disappeared.

Sgt. John Chafee chose not to say much about the Cunningham case, simply telling CBS News that the Atlanta Police Department got its information "directly from the CDC", redirecting other inquiries about the case to the agency's media release.

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Responding to a reporter's questions regarding any workplace incidents or problems, O'Connor said no issues were evident following interviews with Cunningham's colleagues - apart from the apparent bad news about the position. "He told several co-workers that he was and that he was expecting this promotion".

There has been news coverage that Commander Cunningham recently did not receive a promotion.

When they arrived at his Atlanta home on February 14, the couple found their son's phone, keys, wallet, vehicle and dog, with no trace of him in sight.

The unusual circumstances surrounding Cunningham's disappearance have continued to baffle authorities. "We want him to return to his loved ones and his work - doing what he does best as a CDC disease detective - protecting people's health".

"Over and above any of his assignments at CDC, his early promotion within the USPHS reflects his excellence as an officer and an employee", the statement read.