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Answers elusive in case of Sebastopol teen who died in Peru

  • An image of Kyle Nolan from a flier his mother distributed in Peru.

Answers remain elusive in the case of a Sebastopol teen who died at a Peruvian jungle retreat, even after his body was brought back to Sonoma County for a second examination.

Kyle Nolan, 18, died in August while participating in an “ayahuasca ritual” after taking the hallucinogenic drug used for centuries by Amazonian people.

A shaman, Jose Manuel Pineda, 58, admitted to burying Nolan’s body after he died during a session with the psychoactive concoction, according to Peruvian police.

He and two associates are awaiting trial on charges of homicide and illegally burying a body.

Nolan’s father, Sean Nolan of Petaluma, last month raised more than $8,000 to bring the body home for further examination, saying his son may have been “murdered, because people don’t die from ingesting ayahuasca.”

But a second autopsy in Sonoma County, following an initial one in Peru, reportedly failed to produce results.

“I don’t think there was a lot of information she was able to get,” Nolan said this week of the pathologist’s findings.

“There are still no answers,” said the teen’s mother, Ingeborg Oswald of Sebastopol. “I don’t think we’ll ever know.”

Nolan is hoping that pending toxicology test results in Peru will determine the cause of death.

“The suspicion is he was given a bad dose,” Nolan said of the speculation among those familiar with drug.

One possibility is that the mixture administered by the shaman may have contained a toxic alkaloid, he said.

Pineda, also known as “Maestro Mancoluto,” was said to give different brews to people, depending on what his intuition told him.

His Shimbre Shamanic Center in Puerto Maldonado advertised a safe environment, with attendants on hand to help participants in their trance-like states. But Nolan said the reality was different.

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