Body found in Amazon Rainforest during search for missing man from Merseyside

Two bodies have been found in the Amazon Rainforest as part of a search for missing Merseyside journalist, Dom Phillips.

Mr Phillips, who grew up in Bebington, Wirral, had travelled to a remote part of the rainforest in western Brazil with indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. The two men were on a reporting trip for Mr Phillips’ upcoming book but had not been seen since Sunday, June 5.

And now Brazilian media are reporting that human remains have been found just days after police confirmed that clothing and personal items belonging to the men had been recovered during a search of the Javari region. Last week, LancsLive reported that Mr Philips’ sister, Sian Phillips, 56, was still hoping that her brother would be found alive.

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But her partner, Paul Sherwood, 60, later detailed how Dom and Bruno were attacked earlier in their trip. He said: “They encountered armed men in boats and were threatened at an earlier stage in their trip.

“I would say for the last few days, the situation has looked very grim,” he said, adding that Sian was understandably, “very upset,” while his brother Gareth, also 56, had now joined them in Lancaster. Local groups have claimed that Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira had previously received threats for their work supporting indigenous rights in the region.

According to the BBC, both men had been threatened for their work in the local area, which has seen illegal fishing, logging, mining and drug trafficking. One man, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, has been arrested by authorities and was seen threatening the pair a day before they went missing.

Traces of blood found on Da Costa’s boat and what police said was “apparently human organic material” had been sent to forensics. Police were granted an extra 30 days to keep Da Costa detained as they continue their investigation however his lawyer denies he had any role in the men’s disappearance.

Mr Phillips had been living in Brazil for more than a decade, during which time he garnered a reputation as a highly-respected journalist with a deep knowledge of the region. He was also a long-time contributor to the Guardian newspaper.

Paul said that the experience was a “nightmare” for Dom’s wife, Alessandra Sampaio. He told LancsLive: “She is finding it difficult – she was the person who phoned me on Monday to let me know that this had happened and she was very anxious at the time and it’s just been a nightmare for her.”

Paul explained that Mr Phillips’ was researching for a book called ‘How to Save the Amazon’, which would look to explore the policy changes and economic measures that could be taken to reverse the decline in the Amazon.

He added: “He was trying to draw attention to the increasingly dangerous position that the indigenous people are in, and the threats that they are facing. It’s entirely possible that he could have been targeted by a lot of people; a lot of people’s activities were being exposed.”

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