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

Battling winter blues, depression and SAD after the holidays

Kick the blues on ‘Blue Monday’ that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year

Former Kelowna city manager downplays possible Costco move

Ron Mattiussi says if store leaves for Westside, another big box retailer will likely take the site

Rockets make NHL Central Scouting Bureau mid-season rankings

Lassi Thomson is the top ranked Rocket in the 14th spot

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

The Kelowna Foundation to mark Bell Let’s Talk day with open discussion

The free and open event will answer questions and connect participants with services

Find me my furever home: Mittens and Boots

Meet Mittens and Boots who are available for adoption at the Kelowna BC SPCA

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Man admits responsibility for 2016 death of Shuswap motorcyclist

Brian Watson, 60, died after being struck while riding his motorcycle on Squilax-Anglemont Road

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamloops video rental store robbed for second time in 8 days

Movie Mart was robbed on Jan. 11 and held up again on Saturday afternoon under very similar circumstances

Most Read