The cause of death of Zachery Tims, the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC), a Florida megachurch, will likely not be known before Nov. 23, when a court case filed by the pastor's mother is scheduled to begin. Tims died in a New York City hotel room on Aug. 12.
Tims' mother filed a lawsuit Oct. 7 that prevents New York authorities from disclosing what killed the charismatic pastor. The authorities would have already revealed the cause of the pastor's death, but the lawsuit has prevented them from doing so, according to court documentation made available by Central Florida News 13 (CFN 13) Tuesday.
The New York Daily News reported in August that authorities were considering the possibility of a drug overdose as a possible death cause. The newspaper also reported that a bag of white powder was allegedly found on Tims, a claim which has not been officially confirmed.
The office of the New York medical examiner, which investigates the cause of death using toxicology tests, told The Christian Post on Sept. 23 that the results should be available to the public in the following week, but then did not release them as scheduled and did not issue an explanation until last week, when the examiner's spokesperson, Ellen Borakove, told CP that Tims' family had expressed some "concerns" about the case being thoroughly publicized.
Legal documentation made available Tuesday reveals that Madeline Yvonne Tims, the pastor's mother, started a lawsuit on Oct. 6 to keep the cause of her son's death hidden from the public. If not for that, the cause of death, which is apparently already known by those involved in the investigation, would be published via a press release on Oct. 7, according to the documentation.
The court granted Madeline Tims a temporary restraining order which prevents the defendants from announcing how the Apopka, Fla. pastor died.
Ave Maria Brennan, a spokesperson with the New York City Law Department, told CFN 13 that the City thinks it is important to make the information about Tims available to the public, and that the "Law Department will defend this challenge to the Medical Examiner's ability to do so."
"Pending the court's decision in this case, we cannot provide information regarding Zachery Tims' cause and manner of death," the office of the medical examiner told the Florida publication.