Brazilian police are denying that the bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira have been discovered in the Amazon.
The two have been missing for more than a week after venturing into the Javari Valley in Amazonas state.
Police said some of the men’s belongings were found, but a relative of Phillips told the BBC the family was informed their bodies had been found tied to a tree.
“The biological material is being analyzed, along with the personal belongings of the disappeared men,” the federal police said in a statement Monday. “As soon as a finding occurs, the family and media will be immediately informed.”
Univaja, the Indigenous association which first alerted the authorities to the missing pair, also said no bodies have been found.
Paul Sherwood, Phillips’s brother-in-law, told The Washington Post that an official at the Brazilian Embassy in London told him unofficially what was found.
Both men had reportedly been threatened because of their conservation efforts and support of Indigenous peoples.
The area the duo went missing is home to plenty of illegal activity, including drug smuggling from Peru, as well as illegal fishing, mining and timber operations.
An illegal fisherman, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, has been arrested for threatening Phillips previously. Blood found on his boat is being analyzed.
Phillips is a longtime contributor to The Guardian while Pereira is an expert on the Amazon’s isolated tribes.
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