Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira: what happened in Brazil as human remains confirmed to be missing journalist’s

The British journalist had not been since 5 June - after travelling to the Amazon rainforest

According to Brazilian police, British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous specialist Bruno Pereira were shot and killed with hunting ammo.

On Saturday (18 June), a day after Phillips' remains were identified, authorities verified that the second set of remains were those of Pereira.

According to the Brazilian news outlet O Globo, police have arrested five more suspects, who they believe helped hide the pair’s bodies.

No names or further details on the latest suspects has been released.

Forensic investigators made the identification of Phillips on Friday (17 June), after the leading suspect confessed to killing the Guardian writer and his travelling companion, indigenous specialist Bruno Pereira.

Earlier this week, Brazilian police confirmed that a suspect arrested in the case had admitted shooting them.

The suspect, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, led police to the human remains in a remote area of the Amazon.

Costa, who goes by his nickname Pedalo, told police he had shot the two men with a gun, before burying them in the woods.

In a statement Phillip’s Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio said the “tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish.”

Univaja, the Indigenous association that first raised the alarm expressed their “ deep sadness” over the news.

Here’s everything you need to know about the British journalist and what has happened to him.

Who is Dom Phillips?

Phillips is a freelance journalist who is a regular contributor to the Guardian newspaper and a former editor for MixMag Publications.

Dom Phillips went missing while researching a book in the Brazilian Amazon’s Javari Valley with Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

The 57-year-old, who is originally from Wirral in Merseyside, has lived in Brazil for more than a decade in the north eastern city of Salvador.

He was in the Amazon rainforest researching for his latest book, travelling with local Indigenous tribes expert Pereira, who was also reported missing.

Where was he last seen in Brazil?

The journalist and local expert were last seen on 5 June in the Javari Valley region of Amazonas state, near the border with Peru.

They had been travelling by boat and were meant to arrive at Atalaia do Norte on Sunday morning.

According to reports, the pair were last seen in the community of Sao Rafael, where Pereira had arranged a meeting with the local tribe.

However, the meeting did not go ahead, so the two decided to head on early to Atalaia do Norte.

They were last seen near the village of Sao Gabriel.

Local indigenous groups confirmed at the time that the pair had supplies“sufficient for the trip” and had satellite communications equipment.

Who are the main suspects?

The Amazonas state police have now arrested eight suspects, with one confessing to shooting the pair and burying their remains in the Amazon.

According to Reuters news agency, the police believe illegal fishing and poaching to be behind the killing.

Police search a boat where blood, believing to be from the pair was discovered on 11 June (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

Costa, known locally as “Pelado” is from the town of Atalaia do Norte.

Earlier in the week, police confirmed that during a search of Costa’s boat they found traces of blood.

Costa’s lawyer had previously denied being involved in the disappearance, with his family claiming that he had been tortured to confess to the crime.

Speaking to Reuters, police explained the current investigation would: “clarify all the circumstances, motives and those involved in the case.”

What has Dom Phillip’s family said?

In a statement, before the remains had been identified, Phillip’s wife, Sampaio said: “Although we are still awaiting definitive confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish of not knowing Dom and Bruno’s whereabouts. Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love.

“Today, we also begin our quest for justice. I hope that the investigations exhaust all possibilities and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible.”

Sampaio thanked all those who had helped search for the missing pair, and gave a special thanks to the “Indigenous peoples and Univaja”.

Phillip’s family have said they are “heartbroken.”

Speaking about her brother on BBC Radio 4’s Today Progamme, Phillip’s sister Sian described her brother as ”a leading light in journalism.”

What has Brazil said?

Brazilian federal police confirmed that that the human remains found belonged to the pair.

Experts from the Federal Police from the Task Force are taken on a pick-up truck upon arriving at the port of Atalaia do Norte (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to Reuters they stated: “The investigations indicate that the killers acted alone, with no bosses or criminal organisation behind the crime.”

However, local Indigenous rights group Univaja, who played a vital role in raising the alarm about the pair have suggested that a criminal gang was involved.

In a statement they said: “The cruelty of the crime makes clear that Pereira and Phillips crossed paths with a powerful criminal organisation that tried at all costs to cover its tracks during the investigation.”