The body of 42-year-old Zachery Tims, a senior pastor from Orlando, was found on the floor of his room at the W Hotel on Broadway, police told The Associated Press. A white powdery substance believed to be narcotics was discovered on the body.
Tims’s body was discovered Friday afternoon when a worker trying to check the minibar in his room at the W Hotel found it latched from the inside. A maintenance worker opened the door and found Tims lying on his back between the bedroom and living room area. According to a law enforcement official, police found a glassine envelope with a white powerdery substance inside the right pocket of his shorts.
The substance was being tested, according to a law enforcement official.
Another law enforcement official familiar with the case said, “what that white powdery substance is and whether it played a role in Mr. Tims’ death is still to be determined.”
Police found no signs of trauma to his body. At this point criminality is not suspected, officials said. Detectives spoke with his family members and it appears Tims died in possession of his jewelry and other belongings.
Tims was in town for a meeting and was supposed to leave for Texas last Thursday, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter.
Tims founded the New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka with his wife Riva in 1996, according the The New York Daily News. The church has grown to a congregation of 7,500 people, his website says.
At the ministry’s first service, six people gathered in a hotel room, according to the ministry’s website. In 1999, they purchased a church; two years later, the ministry expanded to a second 21-acre-location dubbed “City of Destiny.”
As the church grew, it was able to bestow lavish benefits, even giving away cars to members, according to its website.
Two years ago, Tims divorced his wife of 15 years after admitting to an affair with a stripper, reported Black Christian News in 2009.
Tims had turned to religion after a troubled childhood. In his memoir, It’s Never Too Late: How a teenage criminal found his divine destiny and became a successful millionaire and pastor of a thriving church. 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.
In Florida, members of Destiny Christian Center drove to the Apopka 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 Apopka 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.”
Tims leaves behind four children, including a son with Cerebral Palsy.
May the man rest in peace… The man was one heck of a character, attempted murder, pastoring, giving away cars, strippers and cocaine… Kissy is going to keep her opinions to herself since he is deceased… Mostly I would say that men are men.. They all have the same temptations…
But my thoughts are that some ladies might start going to church… Gold is everywhere. Those other chicks can chase ball players if they want to…
But in all seriousness. I am really bothered when people die of drugs.. I wish people would just leave drugs alone or stick with the weed.. Nobody dies of weed. (I’m drug free)