Sebastapol teen dies during ceremony in Peru

September 15, 2012 12:13:17 AM PDT
A young man who traveled thousands of miles searching for spiritual meaning is dead and the Peruvian shaman offering that guidance is under arrest.

Kyle Nolan, 18, graduated from high school in Sebastopol last year and travelled to South America by himself. When he didn't come home two weeks ago, his family set out to find him.

Nolan's brother didn't want to talk on camera, but he says his mother and sister are still in Peru trying to figure out exactly what led to his death.

Nolan died at a spiritual retreat in Peru three weeks ago. It happened after he ingested a hallucinogenic plant during a ritual.

When Nolan didn't return home, his mother and sister made the trip south to find him. His mother spoke to the media about the search.

"No one has seen from him no one has heard from him; he hasn't left Peru yet according to immigration," Ingeborg Oswald said. "It's like he vanished, there's no sign of him anywhere."

Now, Peruvian police say a shaman has been arrested after confessing to burying Nolan. Two other men have also been taken into custody, accused of helping Shaman Jose Manuel Pineda dispose of Nolan's body in the jungle.

Pineda led authorities to the body and told officials Nolan died after exceeding the dosage of the medicinal plant.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nolan's parents knew he was going to Peru to take part in the Ayahausca ritual. The hallucinogenic brew made from a South American vine is used by Amazonian Indian peoples as a way to heal people.

Back in Sebastopol, word of Nolan's death has death spread quickly.

"The whole Sebastopol community is grieving about it," Lucas Myers said.

Myers is a senior at Analy High School, the same school Nolan graduated from. Myers found out about Nolan's death through social media.

"His family posted about it, there was a RIP Kyle Nolan page on Facebook," he said.

He says everyone is talking about what happened to Nolan, even in school.

"We talked about it a little bit in class today; some of the teachers had him so a lot of people were sad about that," Myers said.

Many people knew either Nolan or his brother or sister and were shocked and saddened to hear of his death.


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