STORY: Police in Brazil say a suspect has confessed to the killing of journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.
Investigators said Wednesday the suspect led police to a remote burial site where they unearthed human remains, marking a grim conclusion to a case that has sparked protests domestically, and raised global alarm.
Detective Eduardo Fontes told a news conference the suspect is a fisherman who had clashed with Pereira over his efforts to combat illegal fishing in indigenous territory.
He added that another suspect in custody has denied any role in the murder despite incriminating evidence, which officials are continuing to uncover at the site.
“Excavations have been carried out at the site and continue to be carried out...From now on, we move on to a new stage: the phase of identifying these human remains.”
Pereira was a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at a Brazilian indigenous affairs agency.
And Phillips, a British freelance reporter who has written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was doing research with Pereira for a book.
They were working in a remote jungle area in the Amazon rainforest near the border with Colombia and Peru when they went missing.
The region, also known as the Javari Valley, is home to the world's largest number of uncontacted indigenous people, and has been invaded by illegal fishermen, hunters, loggers, miners, and drug traffickers.
Witnesses say Pereira had received threats from one of the suspects before.
They also say the suspects were seen meeting in the area just moments after Phillips and Pereira passed by on June 5.
Public defenders representing the two suspects could not immediately be reached for comment.
Police are investigating a third person's involvement and further arrests are possible.
Meanwhile Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has come under growing pressure to find Phillips and Pereira and previously faced questioning by Phillips himself, suggested Wednesday the journalist had made enemies by writing about environmental issues.