A Canadian man killed in Peru has been identified by the Peruvian government as a Comox Valley resident.
While Global Affairs Canada has not confirmed the individual, the Peruvian Interior Ministry has identified the individual as Sebastian Paul Woodroffe, a Cumberland resident.
The 41-year-old travelled to Peru to study hallucinogenic medicine was killed by a mob in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest after people blamed him for the slaying of an elderly shaman, authorities said Sunday.
Peru’s attorney general’s office said Woodroffe was dragged by the neck shortly after the killing of Olivia Arevalo, an octogenarian plant healer from the Shipibo-Konibo tribe of northeastern Peru. Officials backed away from initial reports that Woodroffe was the principal suspect in Arevalo’s killing.
Arevalo and Woodroffe were both killed Thursday in the Indigenous community of Victoria Gracia, officials said. But police did not begin to investigate until a cellphone video appeared in local media showing a man purported to be Woodroffe begging for mercy while being dragged between thatch-roofed homes. He was then left motionless on the muddy ground.
On Saturday, officials dug up Woodroffe’s body from an unmarked grave where he had been hastily buried.
Arevalo was a staunch defender of Indigenous people’s rights in the region. She also practised a traditional form of singing medicine that the Shipibo believe removes negative energies from individuals and a group alike.
Friends of Woodroffe have posted messages of condolences on social media pages, and Woodroffe’s Facebook profile has changed to ‘Remembering Sebastian Woodroffe.’
– With files from Canadian Press