Florida Pastor Found Dead Had White Powder in Pocket: Sources

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Monday, Aug 15, 2011  |  Updated 5:58 PM EDT
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In Memoriam

www.zacherytims.com

Zachery Tims, 42, was the pastor of a mega-church in central Florida. He was found dead in his hotel room at the W Times Square.

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A Florida mega-church pastor found dead in a Times Square hotel room had an envelope of white powder in his pocket and investigators are looking into whether it was a controlled substance, NBC New York has learned.

Sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC New York 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 W Hotel. The body of the 42-year-old pastor from Orlando was found Friday.

A spokeswoman for the city medical examiner declined comment except to say that toxicology and autopsy results are pending. An NYPD spokesman also declined comment.

Tims founded the New Destiny Christian Center in 1996, which claims a membership of more than 8,000 people.

Tims had turned to religion after a troubled childhood that included drug problems, according to his website.

In his memoir, "It's Never Too Late," he writes that he was convicted of attempted murder at age 14 and spent two years in juvenile facilities. He overcame a drug addiction and became a pastor because "God had a greater plan," his website says.

Two years ago, Tims divorced his wife of 15 years after admitting to an affair with a stripper, Black Christian News reported in 2009.

Members of New Destiny Christian Center drove to the Apopka, Fla. church Sunday after hearing news of the father of four's death.

"He was a great man," Shirley Jackson told the Orlando Sentinel as she drove onto the church property.

Apopka Mayor John Land said Tims was a key member of the community.

"He's going to be missed," Land told the Sentinel. "I'm very sorry to hear that."

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