June 14 (UPI) — Police in Brazil said Tuesday they have arrested a second person in connection to the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who went missing in the Amazon early this month.
Federal police in a statement said that Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, was under temporary arrest on suspicion of participating in the case with his brother, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who was already under police custody since last week.
Some firearm cartridges and an oar were found amid a search of the Itaquai River region and will be analyzed, authorities said.
Speaking to reporters during a press briefing, civil police chief Alex Perez said Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, whose alias is Dos Santos, was taken into police custody without incident at his home in Atalaia do Norte, in western Brazil.
“Witnesses place them both at the scene where the crime supposedly took place,” he said, adding Oseney da Costa de Oliveira is alleged to have committed aggravated murder.
Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, were last seen June 5 on a boat in the Javari Valley. The longtime freelance reporter was working about the environment and Pereira, a veteran indigenous rights protector, has received death threats for defending indigenous groups against illegal fishing, mining and logging.
Over the weekend, searchers found Phillips’ backpack submerged in water and tied to a tree in a flooded area of the Amazon. Inside, Pereira’s health card and clothes were found.
The discovery was made after blood was found in the boat of Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, who was arrested Wednesday.
“The investigations continue to be carried out in a technical way, without material and human efforts being spared for the complete elucidation of the facts,” federal police said in its statement. “Federal and state agencies reinforce that there is nothing more important than the search for Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips and reiterate the home of finding them.”