Dom Phillips: Human remains found in search for British journalist – as police say suspect led them to his body | World News
The main suspect in the murder of a British journalist and an indigenous expert has confessed to shooting them dead in a remote part of the Amazon, police say.
Police told reporters the suspect confessed on Tuesday night and also took officers to the burial site of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira’s bodies.
Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pereira went missing on June 5 on a remote stretch of the Itaquai River in Brazil.
Federal investigators say Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, who goes by the alias Pelado, told police he used a gun to kill two men before they were buried in the woods for nearly two miles.
Alexandre Fontes, federal police chief in Amazonas, said excavations were continuing at the area but its remoteness meant there was no phone contact with officers there.
“From now on, we move into a new phase: the stage of identifying these human remains, which are being collected with the utmost dignity, to preserve the chain of custody, evidence, things. This is very important.
“These human remains will be taken (on Thursday) to the Criminal Institute of the Federal Police, in Brasília, where identification will be carried out.
“This determination was made using an entire international methodology, adopted and recognized by Interpol, with the UK being part of Interpol.
“Our idea was, once it was proven that these human remains were related to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, we would return them to their families as soon as possible.”
Guilherme Torres of Amazonas state police, said a boat belonging to Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira had yet to be found but police knew the area where it was hidden.
He said those behind the crime “put bags of dirt on the boat so that it sinks”.
Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira were last seen on their boat near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.
Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a fisherman, is considered the main suspect in his case – and a second suspect, his brother, Oseney, has also been detained.
Police say more people are likely to be arrested in connection with the killings.
Officials link British journalist’s disappearance in Brazil to ‘fish mafia’
Amarildo’s family had previously stated that he had denied wrongdoing and had been tortured by police in an attempt to plead guilty.
The natives who were with Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira said Amarildo swung a rifle at them the day before they went missing.
Brazilian officials scoured an area in the Itaquai River after a tarp was found on the victims’ boat – along with a backpack, laptop and other personal belongings that were later removed. found submerged.
The area where the two men disappeared was once a scene of violent conflict between fishermen, poachers and government agents.
Mr. Pereira previously led the local office of the government’s indigenous agency, known as Funai, and was involved in a number of activities against illegal fishing.
There has also been violence as gangs vie for control of waterways for transporting cocaine.
The Javari Valley contains seven known indigenous groups – some of which have only recently come into contact – and at least 11 unrelated groups, making it the largest concentration of isolated tribes in the world.