On Tuesday night, a man confessed to killing British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian activist Bruno Araújo Pereira. The two were on their way to research indigenous peoples in the Javari Valley area of western Brazil’s Amazonas state, bordering Peru, and no one had heard from them since Sunday June 5. The confession was announced by the Brazilian authorities in a press conference on Wednesday: The man is a fisherman, his name is Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira and he was arrested by the police as a suspect.
After the confession, the man led the police to the place where he buried the two bodies: to get there it took about an hour and a half by speedboat and three kilometers on foot through the jungle. Police said human remains were indeed found buried in the ground at the indicated location, but that we must await confirmation of the analyzes before saying if they are indeed the bodies of Pereira and Philips.
Police did not add details about the motive for the killings and said the investigation was ongoing and did not rule out further arrests. Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira’s brother Oseney, also a fisherman, was also arrested on Tuesday: police said he was being remanded in custody.
Phillips and Pereira went missing while researching a book about the conservation efforts of indigenous people in the area. Brazilian authorities called the research topic “complicated” and “dangerous” and said the region was known for illegal activities and international drug trafficking: the two said they had received death threats in the days leading up to the disappearance.