A third suspect in the murder of British journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon rainforest was arrested Saturday, Brazil’s federal police said.
Jeferson da Silva Lima was on the run, but he surrendered at the police station of Atalaia do Norte in the remote Javari Valley bordering Peru and Colombia.
“The detainee will be questioned and referred to a custody hearing,” federal police said in a statement.
A forensic exam carried out on human remains found in the region on Friday confirmed they belonged to Phillips. The remains of a second person, believed to be indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, were still being studied.
Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and The Washington Post, was doing research for a book on the trip with Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at federal indigenous affairs agency Funai.
They vanished on June 5 while traveling alone through the region by boat.
The police so far have arrested Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, a fisherman who confessed to killing the two men, and his brother, Oseney da Costa, who was taken into custody earlier this week.
Federal police said Friday that the killers acted alone, information the local indigenous group Univaja contested, adding it had informed officials numerous times that there was an organized crime group operating in the Javari Valley, a wild region that has lured cocaine smugglers, as well as illegal hunters and fishers.
Police sources told Reuters the investigation is focused on people involved in illegal fishing and poaching in indigenous lands.