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Brazilian police arrest third suspect over British journalist’s death

Workers of the National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, stand next to a banner with images of missing Bruno Pereira and freelance British journalist Dom Phillips (AP)
Workers of the National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, stand next to a banner with images of missing Bruno Pereira and freelance British journalist Dom Phillips (AP)

A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the deaths of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in Brazil, federal police said.

After the pair went missing almost two weeks ago, Mr Phillips’ killing was confirmed after forensic tests on remains found in a remote area of the Amazon.

Other remains that were discovered are believed to belong to Mr Pereira.

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

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

Two other men are already being held over alleged involvement in the killings – Amarildo Oliveira, known as Pelado, and his brother, Oseney de Oliveira, known as Dos Santos.

Federal police with a coffin
Federal police officers arrive with recovered human remains at the Federal Police hangar in Brasilia (AP)

Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira were last seen on June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai river, near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

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

Additional remains found at the site near the city of Atalaia do Norte have not yet been identified but are expected to belong to Indigenous expert Mr Pereira, 41.

“The confirmation (of Phillips’ remains) was made based on dental examinations and anthropological forensics,” federal police said in a statement.

“Work is ongoing for a complete identification of the remains so we can determine the cause of death, and also the dynamics of the crime and the hiding of the bodies.”

The remains were found on Wednesday, after fisherman Pelado allegedly confessed to killing the pair, and took police to the place where he buried the bodies.

He is said to have told officers that he used a firearm to kill both men.

The remains were taken to the capital city of Brasilia on Thursday for forensics tests to take place.

The area where Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira went missing has seen violent conflicts between fishermen, poachers, and government agents.