Seven men were arrested by Malaysia police on Thursday in connection to the death of a U.S. pastor earlier this month.
The Rev. David Ginter, 62, who was the senior pastor at the 200-member Bridge International Church in Kuala Lumpur, was found slain at his home on May 4, The Associated Press reported. Officials say he was found tied up with a cloth and a cellphone charger cable around his neck. A report concluded that he died from asphyxiation.
His wife, Sheryl, who was in Australia at the time, had asked for a neighbor to check up on him after she was unable to reach him.
A previous AP story noted that police have been investigating his death as a homicide but have not released a motive yet. Few details have been released on the arrested men so far but police believe a few of them personally knew the pastor. Rev. Ginter's car, which had been missing since his death, has also been found.
Ang Ah Ban, the police head of criminal investigations in Ampang Jaya district, denied earlier reports that the men, mostly in their 20s and 30s, belonged to Bridge International Church. The Rev. Cristian Moscoso, the church's other pastor, affirmed that no one from the congregation has been arrested.
According to the CIA World Factbook, 60 percent of Malaysia's population is Muslim while Christians make up only nine percent.
Ginter, a graduate of Multnomah Bible College, previously served as the youth pastor for Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church in Fairview, Ore., and had served as minister for over 40 years in countries around the world, including the U.S., Asia and the Middle East.
According to the Bridge International Church website, he has three sons with his wife, who are currently living in the U.S, and two adopted Filipino teenage brothers.
Ginter's blog on the church's website lists his devotional thoughts throughout the years. The last entry, posted on April 21, recalls Psalm 3 from the Bible, which reads:
"O LORD, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, 'God will never rescue him!' But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side."