Remains found in Amazon rainforest were of British journalist Dom Phillips, police say

·2 min read
A poster showing Dom Phillips (L) and Bruno Pereira  (AP)
A poster showing Dom Phillips (L) and Bruno Pereira (AP)

Some of the remains of two human bodies found in the Amazon rainforest have been identified as those of British journalist Dom Phillips, police in Brazil have confirmed.

The 57-year-old journalist and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were both reported missing on 5 June after they disappeared in the Javari valley near Brazil’s border with Peru.

The identification of Mr Phillips was made using dental records, they said. The second body, which is believed to be that of Mr Pereira, is still being examined in the capital city Brasilia, where both bodies had been taken for analysis.

The suspect, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, confessed to burying the bodies earlier this week – according to Brazilian police.

Federal police officers carry remains believed to be of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Federal police officers carry remains believed to be of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Officers said the suspect had explained to them in detail how he killed both men, before he then took the police to the place where he buried the their bodies.

Mr Phillips’ family said, in a statement, that they were “heartbroken”.

“We are grateful to all those who have taken part in the search, especially the indigenous groups who worked tirelessly to find evidence of the attack,” they said.

“We thank the many people who have joined us in urging the authorities to intensify the search and those who have reached out with words of comfort and sympathy,” they added.

Mr Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said in a separate statement: “Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love.”

She added that the confession marked the beginning of a “quest for justice”.

In the Amazon, Mr Pereira was acting as a guide for Mr Phillips, who was writing a book on the rainforest.

The pair – at the time they went missing – were in the Javari valley, a remote region that has become a crime hotspot due to the poverty and its isolation from the rest of Brazil.

The area is home to thousands of indigenous people, but has seen a rise in drug-trafficking gangs, illegal goldminers, and loggers.

Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira were in the Javari valley to document the conflict raging between various gangs, government agents, and indigenous groups.

According to reports, Mr Pereira had been threatened for campaigning against illegal fishing, mining, and logging activity in the area.