Brazil: Police arrest third suspect in Amazon deaths

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Brazil’s federal police said on Saturday that a third suspect in the deaths of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira has been arrested. The pair went missing almost two weeks ago; Phillips’ murder was confirmed after forensics; other remains are believed to belong to Pereira.

Police said in a statement that Jefferson da Silva Lima, better known as Pelado da Dinha, turned himself in at the police station in Atalaia do Norte in the Amazon.

Police said the suspect will be referred to a custody hearing.

Two other men are already in prison for alleged involvement in the murders: Amarildo Oliveira, known as Pelado, and his brother, Oseney de Oliveira, known as Dos Santos.

Phillips and Pereira were last seen on their boat on June 5 on the Itaquai River, near the entrance to the indigenous area of ​​the Javari Valley, which borders Peru and Colombia.

On Friday, federal police said human remains found in Brazil’s remote Amazon region have been identified as belonging to 57-year-old Phillips.

Additional remains found at the site near the town of Atalaia do Norte have not yet been identified, but are believed to belong to indigenous expert Pereira, 41.

“The confirmation (of Phillips’s remains) has been made on the basis of dental research and anthropological forensics,” the federal police said in a statement. “Work is underway to fully identify the remains so that we can determine the cause of death, the dynamics of the crime and hiding the bodies.”

The remains were found Wednesday after fisherman Pelado confessed to killing the couple and leading police to where he is believed to have buried the bodies. He told officers he had used a firearm to commit the crime.

The remains had arrived on Thursday in the capital Brasilia for forensic work.

In the area where Phillips and Pereira went missing, there have been violent clashes between fishermen, poachers and government officials.