The British national had reportedly received threats prior to his disappearance in a remote part of the Amazon
Brazil’s federal police say they have identified the remains of British reporter Dom Phillips, claiming to have solved a missing persons case centered on the journalist and another local man following a search operation that began nearly two weeks ago.
The remains of two men were discovered near the city of Atalaia do Norte on the Brazil-Peru border earlier this week, the police agency announced on Friday. While Phillips, 57, was positively identified, the other body found has yet to be ID’d, though is thought to belong to Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who went missing while traveling with the journalist earlier this month.
According to an indigenous organization that worked with Pereira, the Univaja association, both he and Phillips disappeared “after receiving threats” from poachers and illegal fishermen in the remote region. The two had embarked on a reporting trip before they went missing, as Phillips, a longtime contributor to the Guardian, was working on a book about the Amazon and its preservation.
Brazil’s federal police force has identified the perpetrators as Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a 41-year-old fisherman who allegedly confessed to the killings, as well as the man’s brother, Oseney. Amarildo said he used a firearm, and brought officers to an isolated area in the rainforest to locate the two men’s remains, though his brother has denied any connection to the crime.
“We found the bodies three kilometers [1.8 miles] into the woods,” federal investigator Eduardo Alexandre Fontes told reporters earlier this week, before the remains were identified. He added that the search party trekked nearly two hours by river and another half-hour on foot to reach the burial place.
Phillips and Pereira were last seen on a boat navigating a river heading into the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory near the border with Colombia and Peru, where armed poachers have clashed with government forces in the past.