Bodies of two men killed in Amazon returned to families as fourth suspect arrested


Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, were shot while returning from an expedition to the Javari Valley, a remote area of ​​rainforest.

Pereira’s funeral is scheduled for Friday in Recife, while Phillips’ family will hold a wake and cremation Sunday in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro.

Alessandra Sampaio, Phillips’ widow, posted a photo of her holding her wedding ring, which police found next to her body.

Also on Thursday, a fourth suspect went to a police station in Sao Paulo, telling officers he was driving the boat chasing the two men, according to excerpts of his statement published by several Brazilian media.

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Gabriel Dantas, 26, says the first suspect arrested, Amarildo Oliveira, asked him to drive a boat without knowing where they were going or the reason for the trip.

When they reached the boat carrying Phillips and Pereira, Oliveira “shot them with a 16-gauge shotgun,” Dantas said.

After witnessing the murder of the two men, he then allegedly helped transport their bodies to where they were buried, with the help of other men.

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On Monday, federal police said they identified five other people who took part in the cover-up of the bodies, while three suspects were arrested.

Phillips, the author of dozens of articles on the Amazon and a longtime contributor to The Guardian newspaper and other major news outlets, was traveling to the Javari Valley as part of research for a book coming.

Pereira served as his guide and had previously traveled with him in 2018 to the region, which is plagued by drug trafficking, illegal gold mining and fishing.

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