Peruvian prosecutors say Canadian was lynched after killing shaman

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian prosecutors have concluded that a Canadian man shot a medicine woman to death in an Amazonian community before he was lynched in retribution last month, a representative of Peru’s attorney general’s office said on Thursday.

A gun that Sebastian Woodroffe, a 41-year-old native of Vancouver Island, bought early last month matches one found near the crime scene, said Ricardo Jimenez, the president of a group of prosecutors in the Amazonian region of Ucayali.

Gunpowder was also found on Woodroffe’s clothes, though not on his hands - possibly the result of having been buried for two days before his body was found by police, Jimenez said.

Woodroffe was beaten and lynched by residents of a Shipibo-Conibo indigenous community in the rainforest region of Ucayali last month after Olivia Arevalo, a revered 81-year-old shaman, was shot and killed near her home.

Woodroffe’s and Arevalo’s family could not be reached for comment.

The double homicide spotlighted surging tourism in the Amazon related to the hallucinogenic plant brew ayahuasca, which has long been used by tribes in spiritual rituals and is popular among foreigners seeking psychedelic experiences or help with addiction.

Woodroffe traveled to Peru to learn about ayahuasca and plant medicine so he could become an addictions counselor, according to his post on the crowdfunding website

Jimenez said prosecutors suspect Woodroffe killed Arevalo over money that Arevalo’s son owed Woodroffe.

Results were still pending from a test to determine whether Woodroffe had consumed ayahuasca, alcohol or any other drugs before his death, Jimenez said.

Police have still not found two men seen pulling on a rope around Woodroffee’s neck in a cellphone video recording of the lynching. The interior ministry has offered a 20,000 ($6,105) reward for information leading to the capture of either of them.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Paul Simao