In Peru's Amazon, a Shaman Is Killed, Then a Tourist Lynched

Police investigating the death of Sebastian Woodroffe, 41
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2018 2:33 AM CDT

The death of a Canadian man is making headlines for its location, manner, and the murkiness around it. The body of Sebastian Woodroffe was found in a shallow grave Saturday in the Ucayali region of Peru's Amazon by police who began searching for the 41-year-old after a video was posted to social media that showed him being dragged on the ground with a rope around his neck until his body goes limp. One early theory, according to local media and a police officer who spoke with the Guardian, is that he was killed over the murder of Olivia Arévalo, an octogenarian shaman from the Shipibo-Konibo tribe who was shot dead Thursday. Woodroffe's body was buried a little more than half-a-mile from the site where she was killed, and he was thought to be one of her clients.

But while one potential motive being investigated is that Arévalo's son owed Woodroffe money, another theory is that the same son owed money to a gang member who pulled the trigger. And the AP says authorities have "backed away" from reports that Woodroffe is even a suspect. The BBC reports Woodroffe had been in Peru previously to try the hallucinogen ayahuasca, and that he was looking to start a new career involving the use of "plant medicine" in drug addiction treatment. The Guardian cites a years-old Indiegogo campaign that helped fund a trip from his Vancouver Island home to Peru; on the campaign page he referenced a relative's alcohol addiction and wrote, "Traditional Detox Centres have a 5-8% success rate. Unacceptable." The CBC reports Woodroffe, who was apparently also killed Thursday, leaves behind a 9-year-old son. (More lynching stories.)

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