Dead Megachurch Pastor Found With Suspected Drugs

Police awaiting test results on white powder
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2011 2:20 AM CDT
Dead Megachurch Pastor Found With Drugs
Madalyn Berry, center, leads the congregation in a song during a special service for Pastor Zachery Tims at the New Destiny Christian Center in Florida.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Florida megachurch pastor discovered dead in a Times Square hotel room was found with a white powdery substance believed to be narcotics, police sources have told several newspapers. Zachery Tims, founder of Orlando's 8,000-member New Destiny Christian Center, was discovered by hotel workmen lying on his back between the bedroom and living area of his Manhattan room. A glassine envelope of white powder was found in the pocket of the shorts he was wearing, a source told the Wall Street Journal. Police are awaiting autopsy results and tests on the powder. There were no signs of trauma on the body of the 42-year-old pastor, and no indications of a robbery, according to police.

Tims became a young drug addict in Maryland and was "miraculously saved" by his faith, according to his website. He founded his church with his wife, Riva, in 1996. The couple divorced later because of Tims' affair with a stripper, and Riva then founded her own church. Condolences are pouring into New Destiny over the loss of the popular pastor. (More Times Square stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.