Journalists’ Bodies Found in Amazon Rain Forest

The wife of missing journalist Dom Phillips has said a body has been found in the Amazon rainforest.

The Brit and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira had not been seen since June 5 after travelling to a remote part of the rainforest in western Brazil.

The writer’s wife, Alessandra Sampaio, yesterday said the bodies were still awaiting formal identification but added the British Embassy had told Mr Phillip’s brother it was thought his sibling and Mr Pereira had been found.

Brazilian journalist André Trigueiro wrote on Twitter that Ms Sampaio had also informed him of the tragic news.

According to The Guardian, the Brazilian ambassador to the UK broke the devastating news to Mr Phillips’ family during a phone call this morning.

Veteran foreign correspondent Dom Phillips (centre) talks to two indigenous men in the Amazon in 2019
Veteran foreign correspondent Dom Phillips (centre) talks to two indigenous men in the Amazon in 2019 (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Phillips’ brother-in-law Paul Sherwood said: “He said he wanted us to know that … they had found two bodies.

“He didn’t describe the location and just said it was in the rainforest and he said they were tied to a tree and they hadn’t been identified yet.”

Despite the earlier reports, an indigenous association claiming to have inside knowledge of the rescue operation claim the “search goes on” for the pair and that bodies have not been found.

The wife of missing journalist Dom Phillips has said a body has been found in the Amazon rainforest

It comes after Mr Phillips’ wife and mother-in-law said that all hope of finding him alive has gone.

In a heartbreaking statement they paid tribute to the beloved husband and son-in-law, and to his travelling companion and friend Bruno Pereira.

Mr Phillips vanished along with experienced indigenous expert Mr Pereira on June 5, in a remote part of the western Amazon.

After days of searching by the army, navy, police and indigenous residents across the remote region little trace of the two men has been found.

Now, in a heartfelt statement, Mr Phillips’ mother-in-law has said she has lost all hope of ever seeing him return home. Mr Phillips’ wife reposted the statement and said she agreed with it.

In a post she wrote on Instagram, she said: “They are no longer with us.

“The material has been undone and incorporated into the earth they so loved and respected.

“Their souls have joined those of so many others who gave their lives in defence of the rainforest and Indigenous peoples.

“Today they form part of an immense and pulsating vital energy that emanates from this immense greenery that is the heart of Brazil.”

The two men vanished when they were out on assignment for a book Mr Phillips was working on.

Pereira was a regular guide and friend and they would interview indigenous people during the expedition.

They were first reported missing when their boat failed to appear the scheduled return point in the town of Atalaia do Norte.

One man, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, has been arrested by authorities and was seen threatening the pair a day before they went missing.

Traces of blood found on Da Costa’s boat and what police said was “apparently human organic material” had been sent to forensics.

Police were granted an extra 30 days to keep Da Costa detained as they continue their investigation. However, his lawyer denies he had any role in the men’s disappearance.

But there was a brief moment of hope after reports emerged that the human remains the authorities discovered in the river were said not to have belonged to the pair.

Two top cops have suggested that the human remains recently found are not linked to the case.

A federal police officer and a state detective told Reuters that the location and condition of the macabre discovery has cast doubts over the original conclusions.

The “apparently human” remains were found near the port of Atalaia do Norte, a town over 40 miles from where Mr Philips and Mr Peteira were last seen.

The two investigators also hinted that the remains could in fact be scraps from a local butcher, instead of human.

Mr Pereira had received threats before for his work in the region against illegal fishing and mining.

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