Peru judge orders arrests in lynching of Canadian man blamed for shaman’s death

Sebastian Woodroffe was killed by a Peruvian mob on Thursday after he was blamed for the shooting death of a shaman. (Facebook)

A judge in Peru ordered the arrests of two men on Tuesday after a Canadian man was dragged by the neck and lynched by locals who blamed the 41-year-old for a revered shaman’s death.

Police are still investigating who else may have been involved in the death of Sebastian Woodroffe, the BBC reported. A video surfaced Thursday showing a bloodied man, believed to be Woodroffe, begging for mercy as two men dragged him by the neck between thatched-roofed homes in the indigenous community of Victoria Gracia. Several people were seen in the video watching the killing unfold.

Locals had blamed Woodroffe for the death of Olivia Arevalo, an 81-year-old plant healer found dead Thursday from two gunshot wounds. Her death sparked outrage among locals, who viewed the traditional healer as a community leader.

However, there weren’t any witnesses to Arevalo’s death and no murder weapon was found inside the shaman’s house, where she died, prosecutor Ricardo Jimanez told the BBC. Peruvian authorities said Woodroffe was Arevalo’s client.

Olivia Arevalo

Olivia Arevalo was found dead on Thursday after being shot twice. (Temple of the Way of Light/YouTube)

The shaman’s family also had blamed the Canadian for Arevalo’s death, claiming Woodroffe was angry with the shaman after she refused to conduct a spiritual ceremony that involved ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic cocktail used to cure ailments but is taken by tourists for mind-altering experiences.

Another theory in the shaman’s murder suggested another foreigner may have killed Arevalo for an unpaid debt, the BBC reported.

Woodroffe, who was found Saturday hastily buried in a shallow grave, traveled to Peru in 2016 hoping to get an apprenticeship with a plant healer from the Shipibo tribe. He wanted to switch careers to become an addiction counselor using hallucinogenic medicine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam

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