A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British Columbia has been killed in attempted robbery in Valparaiso, Chile, the school confirmed Saturday, June 22, 2019. Dr. Peter Winterburn is seen in an undated handout photo. (Mineral Deposit Research Unit, Martin Dee)

Retired UBC professor Peter Winterburn killed in Chile, school confirms

Global Affairs Canada confirmed that a Canadian citizen was murdered in Chile

A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British Columbia has been killed in attempted robbery in Valparaiso, Chile, the school confirmed Saturday.

In a post on Facebook, the school’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit said Peter Winterburn was killed just before noon on Friday.

ALSO READ: Arrests made in death of B.C. professor Ramazan Gencay in Colombia

Winterburn was a “compelling force” at the MDRU, the post says, implementing a new research program and contributing to student and industry training.

“We are all deeply sadden by his tragic death,” the post states.

Winterburn was walking with his wife and daughter in the city’s Cerro Alegre neighbourhood when two men tried to take his backpack, according to a report in the newspaper La Tercera.

The newspaper reports that Winterburn resisted and was stabbed, and federal police are working to find the attackers.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed that a Canadian citizen was murdered in Chile, although for privacy reasons the department did not identify the citizen.

Spokesperson Stefano Maron said consular officials are helping the victim’s family and are in contact with local authorities.

A statement on the website of the 29th International Applied Geochemistry Symposium, set to be held in Chile next year, said Winterburn had recently moved back to Chile after many years away.

Brian Townley, the president of the symposium’s organizing committee, described what happened to Winterburn as a “shock to all of us, a tragedy that is hard to explain.”

He described “great grievance and disbelief, mixed with frustration and impotence,” at Winterburn’s death.

“Criminal acts such as these (are) impossible to understand within the good norms of life,” Townley wrote in an email.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surfrider Pacific Rim: Celebrating SonBird’s dedication to the Coast

West Coast recycling centre continues to serve thanks to an open-air depot and new regulations.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues wolf advisory

Frequent sightings reported around Long Beach area.

Online video series to feature writers from Tofino and Ucluelet

Quite Determined series launched to showcase creative minds whose speaking events were cancelled.

Ucluelet releases COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Part of the recovery plan involves deploying three district staff as COVID-19 Community Monitors

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

Most Read