World · June 21, 2022

Dom Phillips’ boat found in the Brazilian Amazon

The two were traveling in the Javari Valley, on the far western side of the Brazilian Amazon, before being killed.

The boat was at a depth of about 20 meters (over 65 feet), capsized with six sandbags to make it difficult to float, at a distance of 30 meters from the right bank of the Itacoaí River, near the community of Cachoeira, according to what reported by the Civil Police.

A suspect arrested on Saturday told authorities the speedboat’s location.

Three suspects have so far been arrested for the killings, Brazilian federal police confirmed Sunday, and five others are being investigated for their alleged involvement in hiding the bodies of the victims.

“Investigations continue to clarify all the circumstances, reasons and people involved in the case,” police said in a statement.

Phillips and Pereira went missing while conducting research for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which authorities described as “complicated” and “dangerous” and known for hosting illegal miners, loggers and international drug dealers.

Suspect admits killing a missing couple in the Brazilian Amazon, authorities say

They had reportedly received death threats just days before their disappearance.

Their case has drawn global attention to the dangers often faced by journalists and environmental activists in Brazil.

Between 2009 and 2019, more than 300 people were killed in Brazil amidst land and resource conflicts in the Amazon, according to Human Rights Watch, citing data from the Pastoral Land Commission, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Catholic church.

And in 2020, Global Witness ranked Brazil as the fourth most dangerous country for environmental activism, based on documented killings of environmental defenders. Nearly three-quarters of such attacks in Brazil occurred in the Amazon region, he said.