Amazon Murders: Suspect admits shooting missing Dom Philips and Bruno Pereira

"Onde estao Dom Phillips e Bruno Pereira?"; where is Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira.

Brazilian police say a suspect has confessed to shooting missing British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.

Detective Eduardo Fontes said the man, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, took investigators to a site where human remains were dug up. He said police would work with Interpol to confirm the bodies’ identities.

Mr Phillips, 57, and Mr Pereira, 41, disappeared in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest on 5 June. Two suspects, brothers Amarildo and Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, have been arrested in connection with the case.

Detective Fontes told journalists the “first suspect” – Amarildo – had “recounted in detail the crime that was committed and indicated the place where he buried the bodies”. His brother denies any involvement.

Police said they expect to carry out further arrests, and the motive for the killings is under investigation. Detective Eduardo Fontes said the suspect “pointed out the place where he buried the bodies”.

Federal police officers carry bags containing remains of corpses after a man accused to be involved in their disappearance pointed their location to authorities. Atalia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil, 15 June 2022.
Federal police officers carried bags containing human remains

Mr Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said in a statement: “Although we are still awaiting definitive confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish of not knowing Dom and Bruno’s whereabouts. Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love.

“Today, we also begin our quest for justice. I hope that the investigations exhaust all possibilities and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible.”

She expressed her thanks to everyone involved in the search for her husband and Mr Pereira, “especially the indigenous peoples and Univaja”.

Univaja, the region’s indigenous association, was the first to alert authorities when the pair went missing. The group expressed its “deep sadness” following the news conference.

It said of the men’s deaths: “Univaja understands their murder is a political crime, they were both human rights defenders and died doing work to look after us indigenous people from Vale do Javari.”

Federal police officers in Brazil escorted a man accused of being involved in the disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. 15 June 2022.
Federal police officers escorted a man accused of being involved in Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira’s disappearance

Briton Mr Phillips had been living in Brazil for more than a decade and was a long-time contributor to the Guardian newspaper. He was working on a book about the Amazon.

Mr Pereira, a Brazilian who was on leave from his post with the government’s indigenous affairs agency Funai, was an expert on isolated tribes.

Days before Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira went missing, indigenous groups say Mr Pereira was threatened for campaigning against illegal fishing in the area. Some of their belongings, including clothes and a laptop, were found on Sunday.

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