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

Alberni hosts Island track and field championship

Secondary schools compete at Bob Dailey Stadium

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

200,000 salmon smolts released in netpens for Alberni salmon enhancement

West Coast Aquatic has released 205,000 chinook smolts into two net pens… Continue reading

Virtual simulation engages users in the event of a tsunami hitting Port Alberni

A team from the University of Victoria display a tsunami simulation at the 2018 #BCTECH Summit

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

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.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read