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

Surrey-Langley curlers in the running again for gold

Junior men’s team out of Langley hopes to defend its world title Sunday, going up against Switzerland

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

Vancouver G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read