A suspect has confessed to fatally shooting Dom Phillips of Britain and his Brazilian companion Bruno Pereira in the Amazon, Brazil’s federal police have said.
Police said at a news conference in the city of Manaus that the prime suspect in the case confessed and detailed what happened to the pair who went missing on June 5.
The federal investigator, Eduardo Alexandre Fontes, said Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, nicknamed Pelado, told officers he used a firearm to kill the two men.
The investigator added that the remains are expected to be identified within days, and if confirmed as the missing men, “will be returned to the families of the two”.
“We found the bodies three kilometres (nearly two miles) into the woods,” he said, adding that rescue teams travelled about one hour and forty minutes on the river and another 25 into the woods to reach the burial spot.
Pelado’s family had said previously that he denied any wrongdoing and claimed police tortured him to try to get a confession.
“They put put bags of dirt on the boat so it would sink,” he said.
As federal police announced they would hold a news conference, colleagues of Mr Pereira called a vigil outside the headquarters of the Brazilian government’s Indigenous affairs agency in Brasilia.
Mr Pereira, 41, and Mr Phillips, 57, were last seen on their boat in a river near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia. That area has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers and government agents.
Developments began moving on Wednesday when federal police officers took a suspect they did not identify at the time out on the river toward search parties looking for the missing men.
Indigenous people who were with Mr Pereira and Mr Phillips have said that Mr da Costa de Oliveira brandished a rifle at them on the day before the two men disappeared.