B.C. man killed in Peru remembered by neighbours as ‘spiritual, loving, kind and polite’

Those who knew him say accusations are incomprehensible

Although it has been more than two years since Sebastian Woodroffe moved from his Tull Avenue home in Courtenay, his death in Peru has affected many of his neighbours, some of whom call him “family.”

Woodroffe, 41, travelled to Peru to study hallucinogenic medicine and was killed last month by a mob in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest after people blamed him for the shooting death of an elderly shaman, authorities said.

But for those who lived near him for more than eight years, the concept of Woodroffe killing anyone – especially with a gun – is incomprehensible.

“I just don’t believe that he would do that; it’s not his nature,” said Mickey Montgomery, Woodroffe’s neighbour. “You never even saw him raise a hand to his dog. As long as I saw Sebastian, I’ve never seen him do a mean or cruel thing, or even talk that way. He was always trying to help.”

Describing him as “spiritual, loving, kind and polite,” Betty (who asked her last name not be used) lived across the road from Woodroffe for many years. She says he touched the lives of so many people in the Valley, within her neighbourhood and beyond.

“I remember him willingly helping my very elderly husband – so easily [focusing on] his needs and doing what would be helpful – with such respect and kindness.”

She recalls watching Woodroffe spend countless hours with his son, teaching him about various things in nature.

“He was a beautiful soul … part of our grief is that this was all put on tape – on the internet, on television. And his little son is going to have to live with that. In this day and age, it’s so cruel.”

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.

Arevalo and Woodroffe were both killed 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.

“He revered (Avrevalo) – he went to study with her,” added Betty. “He was all about healing – why would he do that? It doesn’t make sense. He didn’t have that hatred and anger in him anyway; he was always respectful to everyone. He had gone purposely there to study and help others – there’s no motivation.”

She said her concern is that Woodroffe has been made a scapegoat in an isolated community already under siege by large corporations.

Neighbour Lesley Johnson noted in a written statement Woodroffe’s life was far from ordinary.

“He never became comfortable with a traditional family or the expectations of Western culture on what a man should become. He was not traditional in any sense of the word, and perhaps this isolated him somewhat from the conservative values that surrounded him. He was also strong-willed and opinionated, though never aggressive, and he enjoyed discussions with people who had widely different perspectives from him.”

She said she knew him to display true kindness, for his fellow man and for all creatures large and small. She said he showed love and respect, always cherishing the moment, exhibited a sense of play and experimentation and a “marvelous wonder for the natural world.

“I remember him with fondness and with deep sadness for how he met his end.”

On April 28, the Canadian Press reported two people were arrested in connection with Woodroffe’s death.

Just Posted

Heart of Our City: Sean Carlson gives back as a trailblazer

President of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society helps Rupertites get on trail

Former Prince Rupert man wanted on kidnapping and extortion warrants

Terrace RCMP requesting public’s help to find Ira Adam Bryant

LETTER: Keep commercial fishery issues in correct context

Response to letter from Prince Rupert-based commercial fish harvester

Business Walk returns to gauge business climate in Prince Rupert

Volunteers went business-to-business on May 17 to get feedback from owners and managers

MVP of the Week: Giving team a try

Lindsay Gidney has taken his passion for team and sport with him around the world

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to B.C.

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read