After a four-month probe into what officials initially thought was a hit-and-run murder, authorities now say a beloved Pennsylvania pastor and husband made a “significant jump” to his death from a building after decades of passionately serving the Lord.
“We saw injuries that could not be caused by a hit-and-run,” Blair County Coroner Patty Ross told the Altoona Mirror Tuesday in explaining that Pastor John R. Garner, 64, of the West Providence Bible Baptist Church in Everett, took his own life in April.
“This is what we do. If we find something that isn’t that sure, we do something else,” the coroner explained. “It is ruled a suicide.”
Authorities say the pastor’s body was found in the parking lot of a shuttered Bickel’s Surplus store on Nason Drive in Roaring Spring, early morning on April 18.
Garner had been treated for a cut on his arm during the evening of April 17 at the Conemaugh Nason Hospital located close to the store. He was reportedly released from the hospital at about 6:30 p.m. and his wife Joyce was supposed to pick him up.
Due to a miscommunication, said Ross, Garner ended up walking toward busy Route 36 to await his wife. Investigators initially thought he was struck by a vehicle there.
In Garner’s obituary, published by Akers Funeral Home in Everett, the late longtime pastor who left behind a wife, four children and grandchildren was remembered for how passionately he lived life and loved God.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair