NEW YORK--The pastor of a Florida megachurch was found dead in a New York City hotel room Friday and a white powdery substance was discovered on the body a law enforcement offical told the Wall Street Journal.
New York City police said 42-year-old Zachery Tims of Orlando was found dead on the floor of a room at the W Hotel in Times Square. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
NBC New York said that sources close to the investigation told it that a glassine envelope of white powder was found in Zachery Tims's right pants pocket when he was discovered in his room at the hotel.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case told the Journal, “what that white powdery substance is and whether it played a role in Mr. Tims’ death is still to be determined.”
According to his church's website and Facebook page, Tims was the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., one of the largest congregations in central Florida. He also hosted and appeared on Christian television and radio programs.
In an article posted online Sunday, The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported that the church had more than 7,000 members. Tims started the church in 1996. The congregation grew quickly and in 2005, the church built a $3.4 million, 34,000-square-foot youth center.
The paper reported that Tims had been in and out of jail as a young man and hoped the center would keep youngsters away from drugs and crime.
Church members and others posted a flurry of messages mourning the loss of the popular pastor on Facebook and Twitter late Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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