HELEN, Ga. (ABP) — The death of a 32-year-old North American Mission Board missionary is under investigation by officials in the north Georgia county where he lived.
The sheriff's office in White County, Ga., is investigating the Jan. 27 death of Michael Flake, who directed NAMB resort ministries in a tourist area about 50 miles north of Atlanta. Flake, who had a wife, Natalie, and an 8-year-old daughter, Jorjanne, was found at their home in Helen, Ga.
Colleagues said his death was suicide, but White County Coroner Ricky Barrett declined to divulge the cause of death to an Associated Baptist Press reporter Jan. 30. “We don't suspect any foul play or anything like that, but the sheriff's department hasn't released anything on it,” he explained, directing further inquiries to a detective in the sheriff's office.
The investigator did not return a reporter's telephone message requesting more information by press time for this story.
Marty King, a spokesman for NAMB, which is a Southern Baptist Convention agency, said Jan. 30 that he did not know any details about the circumstances of Flake's death.
King said Flake was first appointed a Southern Baptist missionary in 2001 and was a career “resort missionary” for NAMB. “He worked with the tourists in the North Georgia mountains,” he said.
In a NAMB press release, the agency's head of ministry and servant evangelism praised Flake's career. “Michael's resort ministry mobilized thousands of mission groups,” Jeff Wagner said. “The Helen community came to expect the faithful witness of Michael and his team of resort missionaries, and his ministry was honored with the key to the City of Helen because of the service that the summer missionaries provide. Michael's special smile and passion for God will be missed.”
Flake, who was a Georgia native, attended Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., near Helen. He went on to graduate from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Flake also attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and extension programs of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary.
His funeral was held Jan 29 at First Baptist Church in Cleveland.