Phillips and Pereira remained unaccounted for since June 5, 2022 in that indigenous reserve in the north of the country, where, according to the police, illegal fishermen with alleged links to a drug trafficking network admitted they shot the two professionals, burned and dismembered their bodies, and hid them in the jungle.
The remains of both were found after a 10-day search. The journalist, a contributor to The Guardian newspaper, was preparing a book on the Amazon, and the experienced indigenist was working as a technical consultant for the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Univaja) and was accompanying the reporter.
According to the state-run Agencia Brasil, Univaja prosecutor Eliesio Marubo stated that the inquiry into the homicides should be exhaustive and not focus only on the perpetrators of the crime, but also on the agents who support predatory activities in the valley.
“The investigation must cover the group that gives political support to this set of illegal activities that operate in the region. Another point that also needs to be investigated is the path of crime in the area,” he said.
Likewise, Marubo asked for more articulation between State policies to provide, in a permanent way, security for the native populations of the Javari Valley.
The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples created last Friday a working group to combat crime in the territory. Currently, three people accused of involvement in the killings are in custody and awaiting trial.
Last month, a court of the Regional Federal Court of Region I decided to take new statements from the accused Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, Oseney da Costa Oliveira and Jefferson da Silva Lima, who had their first testimony cancelled.
Police authorities have placed at least eight people under suspicion, for possible participation in the murders and in the hiding of the corpses.
According to Alessandra Sampaio, Phillips’ widow, respect for indigenous and Amazonian peoples is one of the legacies that the journalist and the indigenist left for the world.
“I think Don and Bruno saw it clearly. They lived with those people, with the riches that those people brought, like learning from nature. I think we lost the connection to nature and stopped learning from nature. The legacy is to look at nature again and understand that we are nature too,” she stressed.