He had come ashore on India’s remote North Sentinel Island, where tourists are forbidden to visit. The 27-year-old was a self-proclaimed adventurer, but there have also been claims he was travelling to the island, which is off the coast of the Andaman Islands, as a missionary. A missionary who was in contact with Mr Chau says his aim was to bring the gospel to the island tribesmen.
Depdendra Pathak, the director general of police in Andaman and Nicobar, said: “A murder case has been registered against unknown persons.”
According to multiple media accounts, Mr Chau was killed by members of the Sentinels community using bows and arrows.
Social media posts Mr Chau put online identified him as an adventurer and explorer.
He said in his blog: “I definitely get my inspiration for life from Jesus.”
His family posted a tribute on his Instagram page: “We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reported killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinels Tribe in the Andaman Islands.”
The family described him as a “beloved son, brother and uncle” as well as a Christian missionary, wilderness emergency medical technician, soccer coach and mountaineer.
They have called for the release of those who tried to help him.
The family statement read: “Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report.
“He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us. To others he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT (emergency medical technician), an international soccer coach and a mountaineer.
“He loved God, life and helping those in need, and he had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people. We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death.
“We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands. He ventured out of his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions.”
Where are tribe that killed missionary worker
The tribe live on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Thailand and India.
There are 572 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory and only three dozen are inhabited.
The 2011 survey only spotted 15 Sentinelese on they island – the count was done from a distance due to the danger in approaching the tribe.
In the 2001 census, the total population was estimated to be 39.
In 2017, the Indian government also said taking photographs or making videos of the aboriginal Andaman tribes would be punishable with imprisonment of up to three years.