Brazilian police arrested a second suspect in the disappearance of British journalist Don Phillips as well as indigenous specialist Bruno Pereira in western Brazil’s Amazon rainforest on Tuesday.
Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, also known as “Dos Santos,” 41, was arrested on suspicion of being engaged in the specific instance with his brother Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who was detained last week, according to a statement from the federal police.
Amarildo, also known as “Pelado,” was apprehended last week in Sao Gabriel, a riverside village where the two men were last seen on June 5. According to the statement, police returned on Tuesday and seized some ammunition and an oar.
Both suspects are being held at the police station in the nearby town of Atalaia do Norte, where the second man was apprehended.
“He did not resist arrest on suspicion of murder based on eyewitnesses that placed the accused at the supposed scene of the crime,” said Alex Perez, a police investigator.
According to a spokesman for the indigenous group Univaja, which has been searching for Phillips and Pereira nonstop, the search for the men is nearing its end as the area left to explore continues to shrink.
Eliesio Marubo, a lawyer for Univaja, said indigenous search teams alerted authorities after finding traces of the men in the area, which helped to narrow the search.
“We recognize that we are nearing the end. The search area has been narrowed even further “Marubo stated late Monday.
Pereira, a former head of the government’s indigenous affairs agency Funai, was on a research trip with Phillips, a freelance journalist who has specified for the Guardian and the Washington Post and was continuing to work on an Amazon book.
They were in the remote jungle region near the Colombia-Peru border, which is home to the world’s largest number of uninhabited indigenous people. Cocaine smuggling gangs, as well as illegal loggers, miners, and hunters, have been drawn to the region.
On Sunday, police announced that the two men’s belongings had been discovered in a creek off the pond near where they were last seen on June 5.
According to a Reuters witness, authorities opened a larger channel in the brush leading to the creek in which the belongings were discovered on Tuesday, allowing larger boats to gain access and expand the search.