Peruvian judge ordered the arrest of two men accused of the lynching of a Canadian suspected of murdering an elderly Amazonia indigenous medicine woman last week.
A brutal two-minute-long Facebook video taken with a mobile phone showed Canadian Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, being dragged by a noose while a crowd looked on. His body was later found in a shallow grave near the scene.
Judge David Panduro authorized the arrest of Jose Ramirez and Nicolas Mori for the alleged aggravated homicide.
Police have identified two of the men in the video and are currently investigating other possible accomplices. Prosecutors believe Woodroffe’s murder was an act of revenge for the death of 89-year-old Olivia Arevalo Lomas.
Arevalo, who was described Arevalo Lomas as a wise woman who retained "traditional knowledge of the Shipibo-Konibo people," was shot to death near her home Friday in the intercultural community of Victoria Gracia, Ucayali.
No evidence was left at the scene, although local residents say a man was driving away on a motorcycle after shots were heard, lead Ucayali prosecutor Ricardo Jimenez said.
"The life of Olivia Arévalo leaves a great legacy of knowledge and defense for indigenous and environmental rights. #ONUMujeres condemns his murder and adheres to other actors calling for justice. #JusticiaParaOlivia"
Arevalo’s family say Woodroffe may have killed her after being refused both an ancient healing ritual involving a hallucinogenic plant and his US$4,335 refund, Jimenez said.
The particular treatment is known as ayahuasca and is typically used for healing and spiritual growth. The ritual has been used for centuries in tribes for traditional ceremonies and has been a large factor in Amazonian tourism promotions.
According to police, Woodroffe had moved to Ucayali to study Peruvian herbal medicine in pursuit of his aspirations of becoming an addictions counsellor, his crowdfunding site on Indiegogo.com explains.
Yarrow Willard, a friend of Woodroffe’s in Canada, said Woodroffe was not violent and had never used a gun. “He was a loving father and kind man who was not capable of the crimes he was accused of,” Willard said in an email.
Police say they are continuing other lines of investigation and do have several other leads to other possible murder suspects in Arevalo’s death including another foreigner.