Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira: Second suspect arrested for ‘alleged murder’ over Amazon disappearances

Brazilian police have arrested a second suspect in connection with the disappearance of British journalist Dom Philipps and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira as the probe ran into the 10th day.

The suspect, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, was arrested on Tuesday for alleged “aggravated murder” in connection to the case and “on suspicion of involvement in the case”.

Mr Oseneym, who is known by his nickname Dos Santos, was the brother of the first suspect Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, who has been in police custody since last week.

In a statement, police said they had seized ammunition and an oar from the riverside village of São Gabriel, where the two missing men were last seen. The items have been sent for forensic analysis.

Speaking of Mr Oseney, Alex Perez, a police investigator, told reporters: “He did not resist arrest on suspicion of homicide based on witness accounts that placed the two suspects at the supposed scene of the crime.”

Mr Phillips, 57, and Mr Pereira, 41, have been missing since 5 June after they were last seen in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest in the remote Javari Valley, the second-largest Indigenous territory plagued with violent crimes by illegal poachers, drug traffickers, and illegal miners.

Mr Phillips, who was a long-time contributor at the Guardian, had been living in the country for more than a decade and he was accompanying one of the country’s top indigenous experts to work on his book about the Amazon conservation.

File Veteran foreign correspondent Dom Phillips visits in a mine in Roraima State, Brazil

(AFP via Getty Images)

The pair received death threats for their work supporting indigenous rights in the region, a day before they went missing.

The prime suspect in the case, Mr Amarildo, who is known as Pelado, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly carrying a firearm without a permit.

Police reportedly said that Pelado was responsible for ambushing Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira when they were travelling down the Itaquaí River.

Indigenous people who were with the pair said that Pelado brandished a rifle at them before the two men went missing.

Mr Amarildo has denied any wrongdoings and alleged torture by police to get his confession, according to Associated Press.

The search for Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira is believed to be nearing the end as the area left to examine was getting smaller, according to a spokesman for the indigenous group Univaja, which has been searching non-stop for the men.

Police officers and rescue team conduct a search operation for missing pair

(REUTERS)

Eliesio Marubo, a lawyer for Univaja, said indigenous searchers of area tipped off the authorities after discovering traces of the men in the area.

During the investigation, police have found a backpack and a pair of boots belonging to Mr Phillips, as well as a health card, black trousers, a black sandal and a pair of boots belonging to Mr Pereira.

Last week, Brazilian police said traces of blood had been detected in Mr Amarildo’s boat and were being tested.

The arrest comes a day after the Brazilian ambassador to the UK apologised to the family of Mr Phillips for incorrectly informing them that the body of the missing pair has been found tied to a tree.

Ambassador Fred Arruda said: “We are deeply sorry the embassy passed on to the family yesterday information that did not prove correct.”

He said the embassy had been “misled” by information it had received from “investigating officials” and their thoughts remain with the missing pair.