“Organic material” that is “apparently human” was discovered in the river close to the Atalaia do Norte Port, located on the border of the remote Javari Valley in the far western part of Amazonas state, according to a statement from Brazil’s Federal Police. Police said that they collected genetic material from both Pereira and Phillips for comparative analysis.
Phillips and Pereira were conducting research for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which authorities have described as “complicated” and “dangerous.”
The area has come under increased threat from illegal miners, loggers, hunters and international drug traffickers exploiting its vast network of rivers.
Five other people have also been questioned in connection to the missing pair, according to police.
The Federal Police’s Crisis Committee said it has been conducting “river search and aerial reconnaissance” over the last 24 hours in Rio Itaquaí.