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Canadian stabbed to death in Chile was retired UBC professor, school confirms

A Canadian citizen was killed at the Chilean port city of Valparaiso on Friday while on holiday with his family, according to local authorities. According to police sources, the unidentified Canadian citizen was stabbed at about midday when he put up resistance to thieves wanting to take his backpack.

The Canadian citizen who was stabbed to death in front of his family during a reported attempted robbery in Valparaiso, Chile was Peter Winterburn, a retired professor in UBC’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed on Friday that a Canadian had been murdered in the South American country.

Reuters Latin America cited newspaper La Tercera saying that a Canadian man was stabbed to death in front of his family on Friday afternoon in the Cerro Alegre area of the port city of Valparaiso, which is located just over 100 kilometres from the capital of Santiago.

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Bio Bio, a Chilean radio station, also reported that the victim had been stabbed in an attempt to rob him, in front of his wife and daughter.

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Two suspects fled the scene on public transportation, La Tercera reported; Bio Bio also reported this detail.

The family lives in Santiago, La Tercera added.

Valparaiso Mayor Jorge Sharp Fajardo issued a statement in Spanish saying the murder was without justification or rationality.

Sharp said the two suspects assaulted the Canadian in an effort to steal his camera.

He went on to say that authorities have set up security cameras in the area of the murder to help police in the incident, and that he has contacted the ambassador to Canada to express his condolences.

He also said that the city will ask Andres Chadwick, Chile’s minister of the interior, for a meeting to discuss the issue of public security and police resources in Valparaiso.

Sharp said Valparaiso would demand that the police force be increased in the city, that arrangements be made for more security cameras and that resources be provided to bankroll sports and cultural activities to help combat drugs and trafficking.

Winterburn was a geochemist professor who had obtained his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

He had worked at mining company Anglo American in Africa and later in Santiago, and overall worked as a geochemist in over 60 countries, according to a biography attached to the website for a conference that took place in Chile in 2017.

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The department offered “deepest condolences” to the individual’s family and friends and said that consular officials “stand ready to provide assistance” to the person’s loved ones.

Further details can’t be released due to privacy considerations, the department added.