ATALAIA NORTE: 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 on 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 men’s families have endured an anguished wait for news since they disappeared a week ago during a reporting trip to Brazil’s Javari Valley, a remote jungle region rife with illegal fishing, logging, mining and drug trafficking.
“The evidence leads us to believe something bad was done to them, because human innards were found floating in the river, which are now undergoing DNA testing,” President Jair Bolsonaro said. Bolsonaro, whose government has faced accusations of failing to act urgently enough in the case, said hope was fading.
“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.
“I pray to God for that to happen, but the information and evidence we’re getting suggest the opposite.”
The search has been complicated given the difficult jungle terrain in the far-flung Javari Valley, where the men had traveled by boat gathering material for a book Phillips was writing about sustainable ways to protect the world’s biggest rainforest.
Phillips’s niece Dominique Davies said in a text message that authorities had informed the family two bodies had been found.
“We are waiting on confirmation from the federal police (in Brazil) as to whether they are Dom and Bruno. We all remain upset and distressed at this time,” she said.
Published in Dawn,June 14th, 2022