Dom Phillips: what happened to journalist missing in Brazil?

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The British journalist, who has written for the Guardian and MixMag publications, and local indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira have not been there since June 5 – after traveling to the Amazon rainforest

Brazilian police have confirmed that a suspect arrested in the case of missing British journalist Dom Phillips and local indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira has admitted shooting at them.

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The couple were last seen on June 5 in the remote Javari region.

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The suspect, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, led police to human remains in a remote area of ​​the Amazon.

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Costa, who goes by his nickname Pedalo, told police he shot the two men with a gun before burying them in the woods.

The human remains are being taken to Brazil’s capital, Brasília, for identification.

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In a statement, Phillip’s Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio, said that “the tragic outcome puts an end to the agony.”

Univaja, the indigenous association that first sounded the alarm, expressed “deep sadness” at the news.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the British journalist and what happened to him.

Who is Dom Phillips?

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Phillips is a freelance journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian newspaper and is a former editor of MixMag Publications.

Dom Phillips went missing while researching a book with indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Javari Valley in Brazil’s Amazon (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

The 57-year-old, originally from Wirral, Merseyside, has lived in Brazil’s northeastern city of Salvador for more than a decade.

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He was in the Amazon rainforest researching his latest book and traveling with local tribal expert Pereira, who has also been reported missing.

Where was he last seen in Brazil?

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The journalist and local expert was last seen on June 5 in the Javari Valley region of Amazonas state, near the border with Peru.

They had traveled by boat and were due to arrive in Atalaia do Norte on Sunday morning.

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The pair were reportedly last seen in the community of Sao Rafael, where Pereira had arranged a meeting with the local tribe.

However, the meeting did not take place, so the two decided to leave early for Atalaia do Norte.

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They were last seen near the village of Sao Gabriel.

Local tribal groups confirmed at the time that the couple had “adequate supplies for the journey” and satellite communications equipment.

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Who are the main suspects?

Amazonas state police have now arrested two suspects, one of whom confesses to shooting the couple dead and burying their remains in the Amazon.

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According to the Reuters news agency, the police assume that illegal fishing and poaching are behind the murder.

Police search a boat on which blood believed to be from the couple was discovered on June 11 (Image: AFP via Getty Images).

Known locally as “Pelado”, Costa hails from the town of Atalaia do Norte.

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His brother was also arrested, with police saying more arrests are being made.

Earlier this week, police confirmed they had found traces of blood during a search of Costa’s boat.

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Costa’s lawyer previously denied being involved in the disappearance and his family claimed he was tortured to confess to the crime.

What did Dom Phillip’s family say?

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In a statement, Phillip’s wife Sampaio said: “While we are still awaiting definitive confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the agony of not knowing Dom and Bruno’s whereabouts. Now we can take her home and say goodbye in love.

“Today we also begin our search for justice. I hope the investigation will exhaust all avenues and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible.”

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Sampaio thanked everyone who helped find the missing couple and especially thanked the “Indigenous Peoples and Univaja”.

What did Brazil say?

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The Brazilian federal police confirmed that one of their suspects had confessed to the crime and led them to human remains.

Experts from the Federal Police Task Force are met in a pick-up truck upon arrival at the port of Atalaia do Norte (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Alexandre Fontes of the federal police in Amazonas said the next step would be identification.

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Fontes said: “From now on we move on to a new phase: the phase of identifying these human remains, which are collected with the utmost dignity to preserve the chain of evidence, evidence that is very important.

“These human remains will be taken away [on Thursday] to our Federal Police Criminal Institute in Brasília, where the identification will take place.

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“If these human remains are found to be related to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, we will return them to the family as soon as possible.”

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