Family of missing journalist in Brazil believe he is dead

·2-min read
Maria Lucia Farias Sampaio, mother-in-law of British journalist Dom Phillips, embraces a girl during a protest, following the Amazon disappearance of Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira, at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro (REUTERS)
Maria Lucia Farias Sampaio, mother-in-law of British journalist Dom Phillips, embraces a girl during a protest, following the Amazon disappearance of Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Araujo Pereira, at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro (REUTERS)

The family of missing journalist Dom Philips have said they think he and his colleague Bruno Pereira are dead a week after they went missing in Brazil.

In a statement posted online, Mr Philips’ mother-in-law said: “They are no longer with us.

“Mother nature has snatched them away with a grateful embrace. The material has been undone and incorporated into the earth they so loved and respected.

“Their souls have joined those of so many others who gave their lives in defence of the rainforest and Indigenous peoples. Today they form part of an immense and pulsating vital energy that emanates from this immense greenery that is the heart of Brazil.”

It comes as Brazilian authorities said a main line of the police investigation into the disappearance of the two men in the Amazon points to an international network paying poor fishermen to fish illegally in the area.

Relatives of British journalist Dom Phillips´ wife, embrace during a protest following the disappearance, in the Amazon, of Phillips and expert on indigenous affairs Bruno Araujo Pereira, in Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 12, 2022. Federal Police and military forces are carrying out searches and investigations into the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira in the Javari Valley Indigenous territory, a remote area of the Amazon rainforest in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state. (AP)
Relatives of British journalist Dom Phillips´ wife, embrace during a protest following the disappearance, in the Amazon, of Phillips and expert on indigenous affairs Bruno Araujo Pereira, in Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 12, 2022. Federal Police and military forces are carrying out searches and investigations into the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira in the Javari Valley Indigenous territory, a remote area of the Amazon rainforest in Atalaia do Norte, Amazonas state. (AP)

Mr Phillips, a freelance journalist who often wrote for The Guardian, and indigenous official Mr Pereira, were last seen last Sunday morning near the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory which sits in an area the size of Portugal bordering Peru and Colombia.

The two men were in the Sao Rafael community. They were returning by boat to the nearby city of Atalaia do Norte but never arrived.

After a slow start, the army, the navy, civil defense, state police and Indigenous volunteers have been mobilized in the search.

On Saturday, federal police said they were still analyzing human matter found the day before in the area where they disappeared. No more details were provided.

The only known suspect in the disappearances is fisherman Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also known as Pelado, who is under arrest.

According to accounts by Indigenous people who were with Pereira and Phillips, he brandished a rifle at them the day before the pair disappeared.

He denies any wrongdoing and said military police tortured him to try to get a confession, his family told the Associated Press.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting