Officials in Peru believe they have found the firearm used in the shooting death of an Indigenous rights activist and a traditional healer, and say it matches one purchased by a Comox Valley man.
The country’s justice ministry says 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe purchased the firearm from a Peruvian police officer a few weeks before 81-year-old Olivia Arevalo Lomas’ death.
A picture was tweeted out by officials showing the weapon, a 9-mm Taurus pistol, saying it corresponds to the same as bought by the Canadian citizen on April 3.
Woodroffe was killed on Apil 19 in the Ucayali Region of eastern Peru, local officials and news outlets say it may have been in reprisal for the healers killing.
She was found dead in her home in the Ucayali Region also on April 19.
Ricardo Jimenez, head of public prosecutors in Ucayali said Woodroffe had been Arevalo’s patient, and her family believes he killed the 81-year-old because she refused to conduct a ritual in which the hallucinogenic plant brew ayahuasca is used for healing and spiritual growth.
Woodroffe posted online ahead of his trip to Peru, saying he hoped that an apprenticeship with a plant healer would help his goal of changing careers to become an addiction counsellor using hallucinogenic medicine.
A close friend of Woodroffe, who wished to remain anonymous, says Woodroffe would never commit such an act.
A deeply disturbing video on social media posted on April 20 showed Woodroffe being lynched. Prosecutors said two suspects have been identified in the video shot on a cellphone showing the moment Woodroffe was killed.
A Peruvian judge has ordered their arrest.
“Canada extends its deepest condolences following the reported assassination of Olivia Arévalo Lomas, an Indigenous elder and human rights defender of the Shipobo-Konibo people in Peru’s Ucayali region,” Global Affairs Canada told CHEK News in a statement.
“We are also aware that a Canadian was killed in a related incident. Consular services are being provided to the family of the Canadian.”
Ayahuasca, a combination an Amazonian vine and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), can induce an intense psychedelic and visionary state of mind and is usually used by shamans or medicine men and woman.
No further details are being released by Canadian officials.
With files from the CBC and The Canadian Press