The Federal Police Forensics Department has confirmed that human remains found in a remote Amazon region belong to British journalist Dom Phillips.
Mr. Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were last seen on June 5, while traveling in a boat on the Itaquaí River in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, near the border with Peru.
Two local fishermen — brothers Amarildo and Oseney da Costa de Oliveira — confessed to having murdered the two men. Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were on a research trip in the Vale do Javari indigenous territory, one of Brazil’s largest.
Witnesses told the police they saw Amarildo and Oseney in a boat pursuing Messrs. Phillips and Pereira, just before they went missing.
The police say the motivation for the crime remains undetermined but appear to have ruled out the possibility of a hit job ordered by a third party. Instead, detectives believe the Oliveira brothers acted alone — which local indigenous groups disagree with. The investigations will continue, and more arrests could happen, the police say.
This case laid bare the lawlessness which reigns in remote areas of the Amazon as a result of government inaction. As we revealed on Tuesday, documents show that the Brazilian government ignored at least four warnings about the “imminent dangers” in and around the Vale do Javari indigenous reserve, which is close to where Messrs. Phillips and Pereira disappeared.