Apparent human remains found near Brazilian port where missing journalist and researcher were heading

By Marcia Reverdosa and Maija Ehlinger, CNN

(CNN) – Search teams in Brazil have found what appear to be human remains near the area where British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous affairs expert Bruno Pereira previously headed they disappearedpolice said Friday.

‘Organic matter’ that is ‘apparently human’ has been discovered in the river near the port of Atalaia do Norte, located on the border of the remote Javari Valley in the far west of Amazonas state , according to a statement from the Brazilian Federal Police. Police said they collected genetic material from both Pereira and Phillips for comparative analysis.

The couple were the first reported missing on Sunday in the Javari Valley and reportedly received death threats a few days earlier.

Phillips and Pereira were conducting research for a book project about conservation efforts in the area, which authorities called “complicated” and “dangerous.”

The region is increasingly threatened by illegal miners, loggers, hunters and international drug traffickers who exploit its vast network of rivers.

On Thursday, federal police said blood was found in a boat belonging to a suspicious in disappearance. The suspect, who was arrested after being found in possession of “a lot of drugs” and ammunition, was arrested on Wednesday and remains in custody, authorities said. Materials collected from the boat were sent to the state capital of Amazonas for forensic analysis.

Five other people have also been questioned about the missing couple, police said.

The federal police crisis committee said it had carried out “river searches and aerial reconnaissance” in the past 24 hours in Rio Itaquaí.

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