Disappeared in the Amazon: human remains found, according to Jair Bolsonaro

Human remains have been found during the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian expert Bruno Pereira, who disappeared a week ago in the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday. “Research is continuing. But everything leads to believe that they were harmed, human viscera were found floating on the river and brought to Brasilia to identify the DNA”, revealed the head of state during an interview with the CBN radio.

“Given the time that has passed, already eight days, it will be very difficult to find them alive. I pray to God that this is the case, but the information we have makes us fear otherwise,” he added. Members of Dom Phillips’ family claimed earlier in the morning that ‘two bodies have been found’ but identification is still ongoing.

General confusion

At the same time, a lot of contradictory information was circulating around the bodies that would have been found during the search.

“We are awaiting confirmation from the Federal Police to find out whether or not it is Dom and Bruno. We remain anxious in the meantime,” Dominique Davies, Dom Phillips’ niece, told AFP on Monday morning. The journalist’s wife made similar comments to TV Globo, saying she had been informed by the Brazilian Embassy in the United Kingdom.

Read also: In the Amazon, the disappearance of a journalist and an anthropologist worries

But this information was categorically denied by the Federal Police. She said, for her part, that “the information according to which the bodies of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips have been found is inaccurate” and that “biological material” and personal effects of two missing persons were being analyzed. “The Federal Police, which is required to inform the families first (…) confirmed to us that no body had been found. We should know where the ambassador got this information from, ”tweeted Beatriz Matos, wife of Bruno Pereira, in the afternoon.

The Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIVAJA), which is also carrying out incessant searches, has also denied that any bodies have been found.

A suspect in custody

The research had already taken a turn yesterday with the discovery of personal effects belonging to them. The two men have been missing for a week in a remote area of ​​the Amazon. “Items belonging to the missing were found: a health card, black trousers, a black sandal and a pair of boots belonging to Bruno Pereira, and a pair of boots and a backpack belonging to Dom Phillips and containing clothes personal,” the federal police of the state of Amazonas (northwestern Brazil) said in a statement on Sunday.

Earlier, the Amazonas firefighters informed the local press of the discovery of personal items that may belong to the missing, found “near the house” of Amarildo Costa de Oliveira, the only detainee in the case. This 41-year-old man, described as a “suspect”, was taken into custody and traces of blood on his boat were to be analyzed. Witnesses said they saw him speed past in a boat going in the same direction as the journalist and the native.

During this trip, Bruno Pereira, 41, an expert with the Brazilian government agency for indigenous affairs (Funai), served as a guide for Dom Phillips, 57. This contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian was preparing a book on environmental conservation in this region located on the border of Peru and Colombia, which is home to 8.5 million hectares of protected indigenous lands.

Disappeared after June 5

According to local indigenous activists, Bruno Pereira was frequently threatened for his fight against encroachment on indigenous lands. The two men were traveling together by boat through the Javarí Valley region, a remote region in the far west of the Amazonas, conducting interviews for this book. They were last seen on June 5, in the locality of Sao Gabriel, not far from their destination, the city of Atalaia do Norte.

Police said on Sunday that the search teams, on the seventh day of work, traveled about 25 kilometers and engaged in “careful searches through the jungle, the roads of the region and the flooded vegetation” especially in the area. where a boat believed to belong to the suspect was found. Footage released by police on Sunday shows officers in white waterproof suits and latex gloves working in small canoes in an area of ​​flooded vegetation surrounded by trees.

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