Human remains were found buried at a site in the Brazilian Amazon during a search for a missing British journalist and an Indigenous expert, a minister said Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, a suspect in the case was taken by police to the search site along the Itaquai river, media reports said.
Dom Phillips and his local guide Bruno Pereira went missing June 5 in a remote part of the Amazon that is rife with illegal mining, fishing and logging, as well as drug trafficking.
“I was just informed that human remains were found in the place where digging was taking place,” Justice Minister Anderson Torres said on Twitter ahead of a press conference announced by police to give an update on the case.
Torres’ comment came after media reports said two detainees in the case told police that the two missing men had been killed and they themselves confessed to involvement.
Authorities have not confirmed these reports.
The suspect taken to the digging spot has been identified as 41-year-old Oseney da Costa Oliveira.
He was arrested Tuesday in Atalaia do Norte, the small northern city that Phillips and Pereira were returning to when they disappeared in the remote Javari Valley after receiving threats during a reporting trip.
A man reported to be Oliveira’s brother, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, was arrested on June 7.
Phillips, 57, a long-time contributor to Britain’s Guardian and other leading international newspapers, was working on a book on sustainable development in the Amazon.
Pereira, highly regarded advocate for the region’s Indigenous peoples, was acting as his guide.