Brazilian authorities have confirmed that following scientific assessments, British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenist expert Bruno Araújo Pereira were killed in Amazonia with typical hunting ammunition. Forensic experts also completed the identification of Pereira's body.
In addition to laboratory reports, the police also announced that a third suspect in the crime had turned himself in after the arrests of brothers known as alias Pelado and Dos Santos, while there are as many as 5 other suspects at large.
Federal Police announced Sunday they had identified eight people involved in the murders. Already in custody are Amarildo da Costa Pereira (alias Pelado), Oseney da Costa de Oliveira (aliaas Dos Santos) and Jefferson da Silva Lima. Only Amarildo has so far confessed to the crime.
Pereira was killed by two shots in the abdominal and thoracic region and one in the head, while Phillips was shot in the abdomen/thorax, the report stated. The hunting ammunition used in the crime fires multiple projectiles, called balins. Thus, a single shot can cause a series of perforations caused by small lead balls.
Phillips, a contributor to The Guardian, and Pereira, a National Indian Foundation (Funai) official on leave, were last seen June 5, in the indigenous Vale do Javari reserve on their way from São Rafael to the city of Atalaia do Norte. Drug traffickers, fishermen, and illegal miners (garimpeiros) are known to operate in the area.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão has argued that Phillips' death could have been a side effect of a much larger conflict. Mourão said Monday that the murder of the British reporter was collateral damage of being alongside Pereira who had been targeted by various illegal local organizations.
Mourão insisted during a conversation with journalists at the Planalto Palace that a local businessman had felt threatened by Pereira's activities, of which the British newsman was fully unaware.