A suspect has confessed to killing British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, authorities in Brazil said Wednesday.
Phillips and Pereira were last seen alive in a remote area of the Amazon 10 days ago.
Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, confessed to killing the two men, Brazilian Federal Investigator Eduardo Alexandre Fonte said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Da Costa de Oliveira took police to where the remains of the men were found.
“We would have no way of getting to that spot quickly without the confession,” said Guilherme Torres of the Amazonas state police.
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Oseney da Costa de Oliveira has also been arrested in the case. He is the brother Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who has been considered the primary suspect in the disappearance. He has been in custody since last week, police said.
Indigenous people accompanying Pereira and Phillips have said that Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, nicknamed Pelado, brandished a rifle at the men just one day before they disappeared.
According to the statement, police also seized some ammunition and an oar during a search of the riverside village, Sao Gabriel, where the pair of missing men were last spotted on June 5, near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory bordering Peru and Colombia. Investigators have also recovered some of their belongings, including clothes and a laptop.
Phillips and Pereira at the time were conducting research for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which has been rife with violent conflict among fishermen, poachers and government agents. Their disappearance sparked global concern, as activists and environmentalists around the world called on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to increase efforts aimed at locating the two men.
Pereira helped lead efforts against illegal fishing. In such operations, the fisherman are detained and their equipment is seized or destroyed. Only Indigenous people are allowed to fish in their territories.
“The crime’s motive is some personal feud over fishing inspection,” Atalaia do Norte’s Mayor Denis Paiva speculated to reporters without providing more details.
With News Wire Services