Brazilian police confirmed that search teams found human remains in the vicinity of where Dom Phillips, a British journalist, and Bruno Pereira, an Indigenous affairs expert, were heading before they disappeared.
According to a statement by Brazil’s Federal Police, “Organic material” which is “apparently person” was found in the river near the Atalaia do Norte Port. It is located at the border of remote Javari Valley, in the far west part of Amazonas. Police stated that they took genetic material from Phillips and Pereira for comparative analysis.
They were the first to report missing Sunday in Javari Valley. They had received death threats days earlier.
Phillips and Pereira were researching for a book on conservation efforts in the area, which authorities described as “complicated and dangerous.”
This area is now under greater threat from illegal miners and loggers, hunters, and international drug traffickers who exploit its extensive network of rivers.
Federal police reported on Thursday that blood was found in a boat belonging to a suspect in the disappearance. Authorities said that the suspect was taken into custody Wednesday after he was found with “a lot” of drugs and ammunition. The materials taken from the boat were sent to the Amazonas capital for forensic analysis.
According to police, five other people were also questioned about the disappearing pair.
Federal Police’s Crisis Committee stated that it had been carrying out “river search” and “aerial reconnaissance” in Rio Itaquai over the past 24 hours.
Federal police reported that authorities searching for British journalist Dom Phillips in remote areas of Brazil found unidentified human remains on Friday. It will be sent to the National Federal Police Institute of Criminology for forensic analysis.
This is as international outrage continues over Phillips’ disappearance and Pereira’s disappearance in remote Brazil since Sunday.
Two of their colleagues last spoke to them while they were travelling by boat through the Javari Valley near the border with Peru.
Phillips was in one of his final reporting trips to write a book he was working on as part of a 2021 fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Margaret Engel, the executive director of the U.S journalism foundation, said that Phillips was there.
Authorities in Brazil stated that they had tested samples of blood from a suspect’s boat. However, the two missing men are still missing.
Phillips’ relatives urged Brazilian authorities to keep the search going at a Thursday vigil outside London’s Brazilian Embassy.
Sian Phillips, the sister to Dom Phillips said that she wants to know what’s happening and that anyone who is responsible for criminal acts should be tried. “We demand a persistent, deep, and open investigation.”
After being accused of slow response agencies, environmentalist groups joined them in appealing to Brazilian authorities. This is just one of many celebrities, activists, and news organizations that have expressed concern about the safety of Phillips or Pereira.
Pele , a legendary Brazilian soccer player, tweeted a video Wednesday showing Phillips’ wife Alessandra Sampaio crying and asking for more attention.
Phillips and Pereira are both close friends who refute the notion that this was an impulsive excursion. Engel, who was working with Phillips to write his book, stated that “Nothing he did wasn’t off-the-cuff.” He then added, “He wasn’t naive about any dangers that existed.”
Soraya Zaiden, a close collaborator with Pereira at Indigenous rights organisation Univaja, stated that he is unlikely to put anyone in harm’s way.
In this area of Amazon, where illegal mining activities and drug trafficking are rampant, violence has occurred in the past. Groups working to protect the Amazon rainforest and preserve its culture and indigenous inhabitants have resisted these activities. Advocates told ABC News that a member of Brazil’s FUNAI, which is charged with protecting the interests of Indigenous peoples, was shot to death in Javari Valley in 2019.
Pereira worked previously for FUNAI.
Antenor Vaz, an ex-Funia coordinator, stated that Bolsonaro’s office saw the replacement of FUNAI regional directors, including Bruno. “We also lost at most 40 % our resources.”