Two bodies found in Amazon amid search for missing journalist
Two bodies were found in the Amazon rainforest on Monday amid a search for a missing journalist and an indigenous advocate who went missing in Brazil more than a week ago.
The family of British journalist Dom Phillips, who was reported missing along with Brazilian indigenous advocate Bruno Pereira on June 5, confirmed the news to both The Guardian and Brazilian news outlet G1.
The Brazilian ambassador to the United Kingdom told Phillips’s brother-in-law they found two bodies in the rainforest but did not share any other details, The Guardian reported.
Phillips’s wife, Alessandra Sampaio, told a similar story to G1, although authorities in Brazil denied the bodies were found in a statement to the news outlet.
The news comes a day after the journalists’ personal belongings were found submerged in a river near the Brazilian municipality of Atalaia do Norte. Authorities found a laptop and a half-submerged backpack still clinging to a tree.
Pereira, 41, and 57-year-old Phillips were last seen on June 5 near Sao Rafael, a remote community in Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil’s northeast.
They were headed to Atalaia do Norte — about an hour away — but never showed up, The Associated Press reported. As the days dragged on, concerns were raised because the indigenous region they were last seen in has seen violence between fishermen, poachers and government agents.
Phillips, a freelance journalist, was writing a book about the preservation of the Amazon rainforest, while Pereira is an experienced Brazilian Indigenous affairs agent who has received threats from illegal fishermen and poachers, the AP noted.
After they went missing, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, Bloomberg News, The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal penned a letter urging officials to increase the search for the missing pair.
Police arrested one suspect in the case on Tuesday, local fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira. He was originally arrested for illegal gun possession but is now considered the only suspect in the case, according to the AP. His family denies the allegations.