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Rio de Janeiro: The family of a missing journalist said they were informed by Brazilian authorities that two bodies had been found tied to a tree in the Amazon rainforest. The report came more than a week after the journalist and a Brazilian government official disappeared.
Police said they collected “biological material” during the search, but did not confirm it was the remains of British journalist Dom Phillips, a Brazilian contributor to the paper. Guardian and former contract writer for The Washington Post, or Bruno Pereira, a longtime official of the Brazilian indigenous rights organization. Police said reports that the bodies of Phillips and Pereira had been found were inaccurate.
A spokesperson for the local indigenous association UNIVAJA, which has been organizing searches since June 5, denied later reports that two bodies were found during the search.
“I spoke with the team on the ground, and it’s not true,” said Eliesio Marubo, a UNIVAJA lawyer, according to Reuters. “The search continues.”
On Sunday, search teams recovered items belonging to the two men, including Pereira’s health insurance card, their boots and Phillips’ backpack, which was stuffed with clothes. Local media reported that the objects were submerged in water and attached to the roots of a tree.
“The biological material is being analyzed, as well as the personal effects of the missing men,” the federal police said in a statement on Monday. “As soon as a discovery takes place, the family and the media will be informed immediately.”
Paul Sherwood, Phillips’ brother-in-law, said The Washington Post that he visited the Brazilian Embassy in London last week to discuss the disappearances. He said an official he met there, Roberto Doring, contacted him Monday morning and asked to speak. Doring told him that two bodies were found tied to a tree in the forest.
“He told me it was probably Dom and Bruno,” Sherwood said. “But he wasn’t telling me that as an official statement and would come back later with the results. No one has phoned me since.
The Brazilian Embassy in London said it has been in contact with Phillips’ family. He declined to comment on “the substance of this contact”.
With the Washington Post.
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