Officials: Missing Pastor Died Of Heroin Overdose

A City Heights clergyman found dead in a Tijuana apartment two weeks after he went missing died of a heroin overdose, according to Mexican officials.

Charles Lanier, 51, of North Park, was a reverend at Unity Fellowship Church on University Avenue and a recovering drug addict who had spoken with his parish about his past.

He disappeared Feb 15. Mexican law enforcement personnel responding to an emergency call found his body Wednesday morning.

An autopsy performed at the Baja California Medical Examiner's Office concluded that Lanier died of a fatal dose of heroin that he gave himself, Mexican Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

A syringe was found near the body, which was discovered in an apartment rented by Lanier in Tijuana since November 2007, the newspaper reported.

Last Thursday, authorities got word that the clergyman's black 2007 Cadillac CST had been impounded in a parking lot on East San Ysidro Boulevard, just north of the Baja California border. The sedan showed no signs of being tampered with, police said.

Lanier's family and friends told police it would not be in character for him to take an extended trip and not let anyone know where he was going and when he would return.

When he was last seen, Lanier told his family he was going to the grocery store.

The apartment he allegedly rented in Tijuana was in a gritty neighborhood about a mile from the border, according to the Union-Tribune. A neighbor told the newspaper that Lanier had a male roommate and paid $200 a month in rent.

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