Philips vanished last Sunday in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. He was there because of a book he’s writing about the environment. He was with Bruno Pereira, an expert and researcher on indigenous tribes.
The start of the police investigation was slow, but it eventually intensified. Human remains have also been found, but police say they are still under investigation and have not released any further information.
One person has now been arrested. It is about Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a fisherman who is also known as “Pelado”. Indigenous peoples said he had threatened Phillips and Pereira with a rifle the day before the disappearance.
Pelado denies any connection to the disappearance and tells the Associated Press that the police are torturing him to force him to obtain a confession.
Bruno Pereira has led action in the past against illegal fishing in the Javari Valley, an area owned by indigenous peoples where only they are allowed to fish. Rare and valuable fish live here. The international network, run by local businessmen, pays poor fishermen to fish here and then forces them to give up fishing to run with a profit.
According to the mayor of a nearby town, the motive for the crime may have been a personal dispute over the inspection of illegal fishing.
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