A Federal Police expert examines a boat seized by the task force searching for journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, in Atalaia do Norte in Brazil’s Amazonas state, on June 11, 2022
Human remains have been found in the search for a British journalist and Brazilian indigenous expert who disappeared deep in the Amazon after receiving threats, Brazil’s president confirmed Monday.
Relatives of the missing men — veteran correspondent Dom Phillips, 57, and respected indigenous specialist Bruno Pereira, 41 — meanwhile said Brazilian authorities had informed them two bodies had been found in the search.
“The evidence was now found bad floating us in the DNA testing of them, which were now bad evidence floating us done in Bolsonaro’s DNA testing,” President Ja Ja said.
“Because of the time that’s passed — eight days now, approaching the ninth — it’s going to be very difficult to find them alive,” the president told CBN Recife radio.
– ‘Upset and distressed’ –
Phillips’s niece Dominique Davies told AFP via text message that authorities had informed the family two bodies had been found.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper, where Phillips was a regular contributor, said the bodies were found tied to a tree, according to information given to Phillips’s family by an aid to Brazil’s ambassador in London.
Federal police said in a statement that reports that Phillips and Pereira’s bodies had been found to be incorrect, but declined to comment further.
They said Sunday they had found personal items belonging to the two, including Pereira’s health card, pants and boots, as well as Phillips’s backpack and clothing.
Witnesses say they saw him threaten Phillips and Pereira prior to their disappearance, then pursue them in his boat just before they disappeared.
– U2 adds to pressure –
“They are no longer with us. Mother Nature has snatched them away with a grateful embrace,” she posted online.
Brazil’s government faces pressure from leading international media organizations, rights groups and high-profile figures over the case — fueling criticism of Bolsonaro’s policies on the Amazon, where illegal deforestation and other environmental crimes have arisen since he took office in 2019.
“We are waiting to find out what has happened to these courageous men,” the band wrote in a tweet signed by bassist Adam Clayton, along with a red-and-black drawing of the pair by artist Cristiano Siqueira that has gone viral.
Originally published as Human remains found in Amazon search for journalist, expert