Updated: 24/04/18 : 09:19:19
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World :: Canadian 'hallucinogenic healer' lynched in Peru

Officials in Peru are investigating the lynching of a Canadian man in the remote Amazon region of Peru.

Police found the body of Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, on Saturday buried near where an indigenous spiritual healer had been killed days previously.

Investigators say locals suspected Mr Woodroffe of the murder of 81-year-old Olivia Arévalo, who was shot dead on Thursday.

Officials said they would not rest until both murders had been solved.

Mr Woodroffe was a Canadian citizen from the town of Courtenay on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Canadian broadcaster CBC quoted a friend of Mr Woodroffe as saying that the 41-year-old had travelled to Peru on a number of occasions to experiment with ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drug.

Yarrow Willard described Mr Woodroffe as a gentle person on a journey to find enlightenment and "deeper meaning".

According to Canadian news portal Canoe.com, Mr Woodroffe went to the Ucayali region in Peru's rainforest hoping to do an apprenticeship with a plant healer from the Shipibo indigenous group.

"I feel responsible trying to support this culture and retain some of their treasure in me and my family, and share it with those that wish to learn," Mr Woodroffe wrote on a fundraising site.

His goal was to change careers to become an addiction counsellor using hallucinogenic medicine.

A family member's struggle with alcoholism inspired Mr Woodroffe's decision to help "fix the family spirit", he said in a 2013 YouTube video.

Police launched a search for the Canadian after a video emerged on social media showing a man identified by Peruvian prosecutors as Mr Woodroffe lying in a puddle groaning while another man puts a rope around his neck and drags him along.

A group of locals stands by and watches while the man with the rope around his neck appears to go limp.

Mr Woodroffe's body was found in a shallow unmarked grave on Saturday.

Peruvian officials say forensic tests carried out on his body show that he died by strangulation and that he had received several blows across his body.

Local prosecutor Ricardo Palma Jimenez says officials are still investigating several theories as to why Mr Woodroffe was killed but local media say some villagers blamed him for the killing of Olivia Arévalo.

Mr Woodroffe had not been named as a suspect in Ms Arévalo's murder but villagers suspected him because he was allegedly one of the spiritual healer's clients.

"A foreigner can come and kill us, day after day, like dogs or cats, and nothing happens, the state does nothing," one local woman told a Peruvian official on television, according to the Washington Post.

"We want the communities of the Amazon to know that there is justice," Jimenez told TV Peru in Ucayali. "But not justice by their own hands."