Amarildo & Oseney da Costa de Oliveira: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Getty A Brazilian Kamuu Dan Wapichana indigenous man takes part in a protest of employees of the  National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) outside the Ministry of Justice in Brasília, on June 14, 2022 over missing British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous affairs specialist Bruno Pereira.

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira and his brother Oseney da Costa de Oliveira have been arrested in the disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who were last seen in a remote area of the Amazon in Brazil June 5, 2022. The bodies of two men were found near the place Phillips and Pereira were last seen, authorities said.

Phillips was a regular contributor to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Regional police chief Eduardo Fontes said during a press conference that Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, also known as Pelado, led authorities to the bodies.

“On Tuesday he informed us the location where the bodies were buried and he promised to go with us today to the site so we could confirm where the bodies were buried,” Fontes told reporters at the conclusion of the 10-day search.

An autopsy will be conducted to confirm whether the remains are those of Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, the Associated Press reported.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, Nicknamed Pelado, Confessed to Killing the Men, Local Authorities Said

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, made a confession to authorities, local police told the Associated Press. He said he killed the men with a firearm. Authorities have identified him as the prime suspect in the case.

Authorities said he also gave police information leading to the discovery of the bodies. Once the remains are identified, they will be returned to the families.

“We would have no way of getting to that spot quickly without the confession,” Guilherme Torres of the Amazonas state police told the AP.

Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, told The Guardian the unanswered questions in the case were painful.

“Although we are still awaiting definitive confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish of not knowing Dom and Bruno’s whereabouts. Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love,” she said in the statement. “Today, we also begin our quest for justice. I hope that the investigations exhaust all possibilities and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible.”

2. Authorities Were Searching for the Boat Used by Phillips & Pereira in the Latest Update in the Case

The next phase of the search is a hunt for the boat used by Phillips and Pereira shortly before their disappearance, authorities told The Guardian.

“They put bags of dirt on the boat so it would sink,” Torres told reporters, and added that the boat’s engine was removed.

The bodies were found about two miles deep in the woods, and it took search teams more than two hours to reach the site where the remains were buried. The bodies were recovered from the Javari Valley, near Brazil’s border with Peru and Colombia. The remains were returned to the city of Atalaia do Norte.

3. Prior to His Arrest, Oseney da Costa de Oliveira Claimed His Brother Was Tortured

Oseney da Costa de Oliveira, 41, visited his brother in jail prior to his own arrest, and made statements to media claiming authorities were torturing his brother to illicit a confession. Oseney da Costa de Oliveira was arrested days later. Both of the brothers are fishermen, according to the Associated Press.

“He told me he was at his house when they handcuffed him,” Osenei da Costa de Oliveira told reporters. “Then they put him on a boat under the sun and began to travel to Atalaia do Norte. When they reached the Curupira rivulet, they put him on another boat. Then they beat him, tortured him, put his head under water, stepped on his leg and pepper-sprayed his face. They also drugged him twice, but I don’t know what they used.”

“They wanted him to confess but he’s innocent,” he added.

4. Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira Is a Fisherman Who Initially Told Police He Was Hunting Pigs

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, known locally as Pelado, initially told police under questioning that he had seen Phillips and Pereira, but that he did not go out that day. He claimed he went out the following day to hunt pigs, according to The Guardian.

During the search for the missing men, volunteers collected bullet casings and an oar, federal police said in statements. Federal authorities conducted search warrants while Indigenous volunteers spearheaded a search for the missing men, The Guardian reported. The search was conducted in a patch of flooded forest.

Pelado initially denied any involvement in the disappearance, The Guardian reported, citing Brazilian newspaper O Globo. He claimed at the time that he did not leave his home the day the men were last seen. He lives in São Gabriel, a riverside village, The Guardian reported.

5. More Arrests Are Expected In the Case, Authorities Said

Fontes told reporters that their investigation is ongoing, and they expect additional arrests will be made.

“We are still investigating,” he said after the remains were recovered. “This was a significant advance.”

Eliseio Marubo, an Indigenous lawyer and close friend of Pereira, made a tearful speech to reporters, according to The Guardian.

“I feel an indescribable pain because I have lost a brother, I have lost part of my story,” he said.

He told the families of the two men that they will carry on together.

“You are not alone,” he said. “We will march on together.”

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