NITEROI, Brazil – The Phillips House family said goodbye to a British journalist on Sunday, who was killed earlier this month along with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon.
Phillips’ wife Alessandra Sampaio, siblings Sian and Gareth and brother-in-law Paul Sherwood attended the funeral of the 57-year-old in Niteroi near Rio de Janeiro.
“Today, the Home will be cremated in the country he loved, his chosen home,” Sampaio said.
“He was a very special person not only because he defended what he believed in as a professional, but also because of his great heart and great love for humanity,” she said.
Sian revealed that the couple is planning to adopt two Brazilian children.
Phillips, a freelance journalist who wrote for the Guardian and Washington Post, was researching for a travel book with Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at the Funai Indigenous Agency, when they disappeared in the remote Javari Valley on June 5th.
Their remains were found from a grave in the jungle about 10 days later after a fisherman who admitted to killing them, Amarildo da Costa, led Brazilian police there.
His memorial service took place two days after Pereira’s funeral, which was attended by indigenous peoples who paid tribute with song and dance.
In front of the cemetery where Phillips’ funeral was held, people protested with signs reading “Who ordered Dom and Bruno to be killed?”
Police said earlier this month that their investigation suggested that in addition to Costa, several individuals were involved, but that they were probably acting alone, without the bosses behind the crime. This theory was challenged by the indigenous group Univaja.
Phillips’ family said they would continue to monitor the investigation and demand justice.
“He was killed because he tried to tell the world what was going on with the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.
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