Brazil official: Police find human remains in Amazon search

Brazil’s justice minister said Wednesday that police reported finding human remains in the Amazon area where an Indigenous expert and British journalist disappeared more than a week ago.

Justice Minister Anderson Torres said the remains had not been identified.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “I have just been informed by the federal police that ‘human remains have been found at the place where there digging was being made.’ Those will be submitted to forensics.”

No further details were immediately available.

The federal police said in a statement earlier, after a suspect was taken to the searh area, that it would hold a news conferenceit Wednesday evening to make “an exceptional clarification about the investigations.”

Colleagues of the missing Indigenous expert, Bruno Pereira, called a vigil outside the headquarters of the Brazilian government’s Indigenous affairs agency in Brasilia.

Pereira was on leave from the agency when he disappeared June 5 while traveling with Dom Phillips, a British freeland journalist.

They 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.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

ATALAIA DO NORTE, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian police on Wednesday took a suspect out on the river toward search parties looking for remains of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. Both disappeared on June 5.

An Associated Press photographer in Atalaia do Norte witnessed police taking the suspect, who was in a hood, on a boat.

Federal police did not immediately answer queries from AP seeking details.

On Tuesday, police said they had arrested a second suspect in connection with the disappearance of Phillips and Pereira, who were traveling in a remote area of the Amazon.

Police arrested Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, a fisherman and a brother of the man so far considered by police as the main suspect in the case, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also 41, nicknamed Pelado.

De Oliveira told the AP on Friday that he had visited Pelado in jail and was told that local police had tortured him in attempts to get a confession. De Oliveira said his brother was innocent.

Both men were being held at the jail in Atalaia do Norte. Because of the hood, it wasn’t clear who was being led by police.

____ Maisonnave reported from Leticia, Colombia.

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