Remains of a British journalist found on Amazon, police name a new suspect

SAO PAUL, June 17 (Reuters) – A forensic examination of human remains found in the Amazon rainforest confirmed on Friday that they belonged to British journalist Dom Phillips, Brazilian federal police said, adding that is investigating a man suspected of involvement in his murder.

Work is underway to determine the causes of death, police said in a statement.

The remains of a second person, believed to be indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, were still under analysis, a CNN Brazil report said on Friday.

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Pereira and Phillips disappeared on June 5 in the remote Javari Valley bordering Peru and Colombia. Earlier this week, police recovered human remains from a pit in the jungle led by a fisherman, Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, who confessed to killing the two men. Read more

Phillips, a freelance journalist who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was investigating a book about the trip with Pereira, a former chief of isolated and recently contacted tribes at the federal Indigenous affairs agency Funai.

Police said their investigation suggested there were more people involved beyond Oliveira and that they were now looking for a man named Jeferson da Silva Lima.

He is the third suspect named by police after Oliveira and her brother, Oseney da Costa, who were arrested this week.

“There is an arrest warrant issued by the Atalaia do Norte State Court against Jeferson da Silva Lima, also known as ‘Pelado da Dinha’, which has not been located at this time,” police said.

Federal police officers carry a coffin containing human remains after a suspect confessed to killing British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and led police to locate the remains at the Federal Police headquarters. , in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 16. 2022. REUTERS / Ueslei Marcelino

“Investigations indicate that the killers acted alone, with no leaders or criminal organization behind the crime.”

The local indigenous group Univaja, however, which played a leading role in the investigation, said: “The cruelty of the crime makes it clear that Pereira and Phillips came across a powerful criminal organization that tried at all costs to cover their tracks. during the investigation. “

He said he had reported to the federal police numerous times since the end of 2021 that there was an organized crime group operating in the Javari Valley.

The INA, a union representing Funai workers, shared this view.

“We all know that violence in the Javari Valley is linked to a wide chain of organized crime,” he said in a separate statement.

Police said they were still searching for the boat Phillips and Pereira were traveling on when they last saw them alive.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price called for “responsibility and justice” on Friday, saying Phillips and Pereira were killed to support conservation of the rainforest and native peoples.

“Our condolences to the families of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira … We must collectively strengthen our efforts to protect environmentalists and journalists,” Price said on Twitter.

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Report by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo, Anthony Boadle in Brasilia and Carolina Police in Mexico City; Edited by David Alire Garcia, Daniel Wallis and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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