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Brazilian federal police on Saturday said they had arrested a third suspect in the murder of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon rainforest nearly two weeks ago.
Jeferson da Silva Lima surrendered himself at a police station in Atalaia do Norte in the remote Javari Valley bordering Peru and Colombia.
“The detainee will be questioned and referred to a custody hearing,” police said in a statement.
A forensic exam carried out on human remains found in the region confirmed on Saturday that they belonged to Pereira. The remains of Phillips had been identified on Friday.
Police said both had been shot with hunting ammunition, with Pereira hit once in the head and twice in the chest and abdomen. Phillips was shot in the torso.
British journalist Dom Phillips, right, and a Yanomami Indigenous man walk in Maloca Papiu village, Roraima state, Brazil, Nov. 2019. Phillips and Indigenous affairs expert Bruno Araujo Pereira have been reported missing in a remote part of Brazil’s Amazon region, a local Indigenous association said Monday, June 6, 2022. ((AP Photo/Joao Laet))
Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was doing research for a book on the trip with Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at federal indigenous affairs agency Funai.
They vanished on June 5 while traveling together through the region by boat.
Guarani Indigenous and human rights activists rally in support of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Perreira, demanding authorities conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to their deaths, and do more to protect indigenous lands against illegal miners, loggers, and fishermen, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) ((AP Photo/Andre Penner))
The police have so far arrested Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, a fisherman who confessed to killing the two men, and his brother, Oseney da Costa, who was taken into custody earlier this week.
Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, center, is brought out of the courthouse by military and civil police officers in Atalia do Norte, Amazonas state, Brazil, Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Police arrested Oseney da Costa de Oliveira and his brother Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, so far considered by police as the main suspects in the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. (AP Photo/Edmar Barros) ((AP Photo/Edmar Barros))
Federal police said on Friday that the killers acted alone, which local indigenous group Univaja disputed, saying it had repeatedly told officials about a criminal organization operating in the Javari Valley, a wild region that has lured cocaine smugglers, as well as illegal hunters and fishers.