Manitoba

Winnipegger Joshua Stevens says friend killed at ayahuasca ceremony was 'a good man'

Following the death of Unais Gomes, Winnipeg's Joshua Stevens is at a hotel in Peru's serene jungle city of Iquitos, filled with pain, sorrow and loneliness, he says.

Stevens shaved his head to honour the late Unais Gomes

A photograph of Joshua Stevens, 29, who allegedly killed Unais Gomes, 26, at an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru on Wednesday night. (Facebook)

Following the death of Unais Gomes, Winnipeg's Joshua Stevens is at a hotel in Peru's serene jungle city of Iquitos, filled with pain, sorrow and loneliness, he says.

Stevens and Gomes, who was from Britain, were in Peru to embark on an ayahuasca-induced spiritual journey but on Wednesday night, Gomes's life ended.

Authorities say he attacked Stevens, 29, with a knife at a ceremony and Stevens used the same knife when he allegedly killed Gomes, 26, in an act of self-defence.

Local investigators arrested Stevens and subsequently released him, says Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for the Canadian government.

On Saturday, Stevens went to a hotel in Iquitos, where his fiancée, Sarah-Anne Allen, said he is waiting for authorities to mail him his wallet and personal belongings so he can return home.

"He really loved Unais," Allen told CBC, saying her fiancé is kind and gentle and that the two men became much like brothers.

Stevens told CBC he is staying in Iquitos for questioning but declined to provide details about when he will come back to Canada, saying he does not want media to meet him at the airport upon his return.

"The police have released me because [there] were too many [witnesses] that had seen it as self-defence," he wrote to one of CBC's reporters in Vancouver.

"I am still in shock."

'I shaved my head in his honour'

Stevens said he was sober when he allegedly killed Gomes, but Gomes was under the influence of ayahuasca, which induces psychedelic experiences in users.

"Things were going so well here, I was healing myself so much," Stevens wrote.

"[Gomes and I] got along so well and talked for hours every day."

To honour Gomes, Stevens shaved his head, he says, and he's creating a book of pictures of him for when he gets back to Canada.

"He really was becoming a good friend," Stevens said.

"May god bless Unais, his family and friends and my friends and family … This will all make sense one day."

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