COLOMBIA

British teen dies after drinking psychedelic brew in Colombia ritual

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 5:04am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 5:27pm
 

A British teenager died in southwestern Colombia after he drank a hallucinogen during a tribal ritual and his body was left by the side of the road by two frightened local men, authorities said.

Henry Miller, 19, was found dead on Wednesday by a rural road outside Mocoa, the capital of the Putumayo region, said police commander Ricardo Suarez. Medical authorities said the cause of death had not been definitely established.

In a statement published by the BBC, Miller's family said he took part in a ritual that involved a drink made from local plant infusions, and "it is likely that a reaction to this drink was the cause" of his death.

Britain's Foreign Office said on Saturday that it was aware of the death of a British national in Colombia on Wednesday.

Miller drank yage, a psychedelic brew produced from plants native to the Amazon, during a ritual led by a local shaman, Suarez said. Suarez said such rituals were popular in the Putumayo and Amazon regions of Colombia "for the effects caused by the drink, especially hallucinations".

After Miller's health deteriorated, Suarez said, the shaman sent him to a hospital on a motorcycle with two young locals.

Miller "died on the way. Everything indicates that the two young men panicked and left him on the side of the road", Suarez said.

Suarez said investigators had identified and questioned the two men and the shaman, but they had not been arrested.

Suarez said nationals of Italy, Germany, France and Colombia also joined the ritual. Fellow traveller Christopher Dearden told the Daily Mail that Miller had a bad reaction to yage.

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