The bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who had been missing for more than a week in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, were found on Monday, news outlet G1 reported on Monday, quoting Phillips’ wife.
On Sunday, Brazilian police said search teams had found some of their belongings in a creek off the river where they were last seen a week about. Among them were a health identification card in Pereira’s name, a backpack with clothes belonging to Phillips, along with the boots of both men.
Authorities have not yet confirmed that the bodies have been found, G1 said.
Witnesses have said they saw Pereira and Phillips, a freelance reporter who has written for The Guardian and The Washington Post, traveling down that river on June 5.
The two men were on a reporting trip in the remote jungle area near the border with Peru and Colombia that is home to the world’s largest number of uncontacted indigenous people.
The wild and lawless region has lured cocaine-smuggling gangs, along with illegal loggers, miners and hunters.
News of the pair’s disappearance resonated globally and environmentalists and human rights activists had urged Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to step up the search.
Bolsonaro, who last year faced tough questioning from Phillips at news conferences about weakening environmental law enforcement in Brazil, said last week that the two men “were on an adventure that is not recommended” and suggested that they could have been executed.
State police detectives involved in the investigation told Reuters they are focusing on poachers and illegal fishermen in the area, who clashed often with Pereira as he organized indigenous patrols of the local reservation.
Police have arrested one fisherman, Amarildo da Costa, known as “Pelado,” on a weapons charge and are keeping him in custody as they investigate whether he is involved in the men’s deaths.