Police deny bodies found in search for missing journalist Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

ITV News Correspondent Rachel Younger reports on how the hopes of finding Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira alive are fading as search efforts continue in the remote corners of the Amazon rainforest

Reports of bodies belonging to a missing British journalist and a Brazilian indigenous expert had been dismissed by Brazilian police, halting hopes of a quick resolution to their case.

On Sunday, a backpack and personal items, including a pair of boots, have been found in the search for a missing British journalist and a Brazilian Indigenous expert after they vanished in a remote part of the Amazon last week.Dom Phillips, 57, and Bruno Pereira, 41, are believed to have been last seen early on Sunday June 5 in the Sao Rafael community in Brazil.

Among the retrieved objects were a backpack and a pair of boots belonging to Mr Phillips, as well as a health card, trousers, a black sandal and a pair of boots belonging to Mr Pereira, police said in a statement.

Mr Phillips family had said their hopes of finding him alive have faded.

In a statement on Instagram, Maria Lucia Farias Sampaio, Mr Phillips’ mother-in-law, said she believed the pair were dead.

“They are no longer with us”, she said.

A Federal Police officer loads a truck with items found during a search for the men Credit: Edmar Barros/AP

“Mother nature has snatched them away with a grateful embrace. The material has been undone and incorporated into the earth they so loved and respected.

“Their souls have joined those of so many others who gave their lives in defence of the rainforest and Indigenous peoples. Today they form part of an immense and pulsating vital energy that emanates from this immense greenery that is the heart of Brazil.”

Mr Phillips’ wife, Alessandra Sampaio, reposted the statement on Instagram saying she agreed.

Police searching for the two men had discovered human matter in the Itaquai River, near Atalaia do Norte’s port, according to earlier reports.

People take part in a vigil outside the Brazilian Embassy in London Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Blood found on a suspect’s boat had been sent for analysis, authorities had previously said.

Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, also known as Pelado, was earlier named as a suspect and arrested for allegedly carrying a firearm without a permit, a common practice in the region.

Police did not clarify why he was being treated as a suspect but he is thought to have been among a group of men who threatened the missing men near an indigenous territory on Saturday June 4.

A GoFundMe set up by friends of the men surpassed its $20,000 goal early on Monday.