Sunday, June 26, 2022

Forensic tests confirm remains found at Amazon belong to British journalist Dom Phillips, police say

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Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira disappeared on June 5 after traveling to a remote area of ​​the Amazon

Forensic examinations of human remains found in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have confirmed they belong to British journalist Dom Phillips, Brazilian police said.

The identification, carried out using dental records, comes after police said they had found two bodies near where Mr Phillips and Bruno Pereira, the indigenous activist he was traveling with, went missing.

“The remains of Dom Phillips were part of the material collected at the location indicated by Amarildo da Costa Oliveira,” Brazilian police said.

The remains of a second person believed to belong to Mr Pereira are still being analyzed, CNN Brasil reported earlier on Friday.

Brazil’s federal police have not confirmed the report.

Mr Phillips, 57, and Mr Pereira, 41, disappeared on June 5 after traveling to the Javari Valley, a remote area of ​​the Amazon that borders Peru and Colombia.

The region is known for illegal mining and drug trafficking.

Mr Phillips, a freelance journalist and longtime Guardian contributor, was doing research for his latest book at the time.

A suspect, fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who has confessed to killing the men, took investigators to a place where the remains were buried, Detective Eduardo Fontes said.

His brother, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, was also arrested in connection with the killings of Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira but he denies any involvement.

Police said they were still searching for the boat Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira were traveling in when they were last seen alive.

In a statement on Friday, police said the investigation indicated the crime involved more people than the suspect who confessed to the murders, but that the killers are believed to have acted without the involvement of a criminal organization so far.

“The investigation indicates that the killers acted alone, with no bosses or criminal organizations behind the crime,” police said.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Friday called for “accountability and justice” and said Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira were murdered for supporting rainforest and indigenous people protection.

“Our condolences go out to the families of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira… Together we must step up efforts to protect environmentalists and journalists,” Price said on Twitter.

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