A new suspect also turned himself in to police yesterday. The man brought prime suspect Amarildo Oliveira to the boat of the two men and then saw Oliveira shoot them dead. He also helped Oliveira bury the bodies elsewhere.
Book on conservation
Phillips wrote for the British newspaper The Guardian. Pereira worked for the Brazilian government agency for indigenous affairs. The two were on an expedition together in Brazil’s Javari Valley, along the border with Peru. They were said to be interviewing for a book on conservation in the area, which is home to a lot of illegal fishing, logging, mining and drug trafficking.
Police previously stated that the perpetrators acted alone and that no criminal organizations were involved in the double murder. Indigenous organizations doubt that.
According to Univaja, a local organization involved in the investigation, all indications are that Pereira and Philips “crossed paths with a powerful criminal organization that tried at all costs to cover its tracks.” The group says it has warned the police numerous times since the end of last year that a criminal organization was active in the Javarivalley.
The bodies of Philips and Pereira were identified last week after being transferred to the city of Brasilia for forensic analysis. The suspect had led police to the bodies.