Dom Phillips’ wife has said “now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love” after the bodies of the British journalist and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were found in the Amazon.
Brazil’s justice minister Anderson Torres said the remains were found near where the pair disappeared on June 5, with police saying a suspect led investigators to the location after reportedly confessing to the fatal shooting.
In a statement, Mr Phillips’ wife Alessandra Sampaio said: “Although we are still awaiting definitive confirmations, this tragic outcome puts an end to the anguish of not knowing Dom and Bruno’s whereabouts.
“Now we can bring them home and say goodbye with love.
“Today, we also begin our quest for justice. I hope that the investigations exhaust all possibilities and bring definitive answers on all relevant details as soon as possible.”
A statement posted on Twitter on behalf of his family tells of their heartbreak after they were told the news.
The statement, shared on behalf of his sister Sian Phillips, brother Gareth Phillips, Sian’s partner Paul Sherwood, his sister-in-law Helen Davies and nieces Domonique Davies and Rhiannon Davies, read: “Early this morning we were informed that two bodies have been recovered from a remote location after a confession from one of the men in custody.
“We are heartbroken at the confirmation that Dom and Bruno were murdered and extend our deepest sympathies to Alessandra, Beatriz and the other Brazilian family members of both men.
“We are grateful to all those who have taken part in the search, especially the Indigenous groups who worked tirelessly to find evidence of the attack.
“In due course we will offer our perspective on the courageous lives and important work of these remarkable men but for the moment, we request that representatives of the media allow the family some peace to deal privately with what has happened to their beloved Dom.
“We thank the many people who have joined us in urging the authorities to intensify the search and those who have reached out with wards of comfort and sympathy.”
At a news conference in the Amazon city of Manaus, a federal police investigator said the man who had been the prime suspect confessed on Tuesday night and detailed what happened to Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira.
Investigator Eduardo Alexandre Fontes said Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, 41, nicknamed Pelado, told officers he used a firearm to kill the men.
“We would have no way of getting to that spot quickly without the confession,” Torres said of the place where police recovered human remains on Wednesday after being led there by Pelado.
The remains had not yet been positively identified, federal police said, adding that other arrests would soon be made in the case.
Previously, the Brazilian ambassador to the UK apologised to Mr Phillips’ family after they were incorrectly told his body had been found.
It comes after former Tory prime minister Theresa May insisted the UK must do “everything it can” to press Brazilian authorities to uncover the truth about the disappearances.
Mrs May made the plea on Wednesday to Boris Johnson in the House of Commons after police arrested a second suspect in connection with the case.
Prime Minister Mr Johnson replied: “FCDO officials are working closely now with the Brazilian authorities following his disappearance on June 5.
“The minister responsible has raised the issue repeatedly, the search and rescue efforts, with Brazil’s justice and public security minister and what we told the Brazilians is we stand ready to provide all the support that they may need.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know