Police Locate Bodies of Missing Journalist and Indigenous Expert in Brazil

Late Wednesday evening, Brazilian authorities announced that they have located what they believe to be the bodies of journalist Dom Phillips (57) and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira (41). As previously reported, Phillips and Pereira went missing near the Vale do Javari region on June 5.

In the press briefing, regional police chief Eduardo Fontes explained that the lead suspect, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, confessed to shooting both men and led investigators to the location of their remains.

“On Tuesday, he informed us the location where the bodies were buried, and he promised to go with us today to the site so we could confirm where the bodies were buried.”

Interpol is now working with Brazilian officials to confirm the victims’ identities.

Graphic: The Guardian/CNN/Global Forest Watch

Graphic: The Guardian/CNN/Global Forest Watch


That site was in an area known as the Lago do Preguiça, approximately three kilometres inland from the River Itaquaí and 1.5 hours up river from the town of Atalaia do Norte. Phillips and Pereira were due to arrive in Atalaia do Norte the morning of their disappearance.

An eyewitness for The Guardian reported seeing officials remove two bodies from Lago do Preguiça and transport them by boat to Atalaia do Norte Wednesday night.

Police chief Eduardo Fontes speaks at the press briefing on June 15, 2022. Photo: Amazonas Federal Police

Police chief Eduardo Fontes speaks at the press briefing on June 15, 2022. Photo: Amazonas Federal Police


Fontes also indicated that search teams will return to the area on Thursday and that more arrests are likely.

Phillips and Pereira were ardent proponents of environmental preservation and Indigenous rights in Brazil. The two men had traveled to the Javari valley to conduct research for a book on Amazon rainforest conservation.

The 10-day search was a coordinated effort involving Brazil’s police force, army, navy, and Indigenous people. Though now coming to a tragic close, the case of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira has shed light on the dangers that advocates for environmental and Indigenous protections face under the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.