Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo Pereira, who went missing in the Amazon, were most likely the victims of “malicious intent,” the Brazilian president said.

Brazil’s Federal Police on Sunday said it had found the personal belongings of veteran correspondent Dom Phillips and Brazilian researcher Bruno Araújo Pereira, and that “biological traces” had been found and were being analyzed.

Phillips and Pereira went missing on June 5 while traveling to the Javari Valley, in the far western part of the Amazonas state.

The missing couple was doing research for a book project about conservation efforts in the region, which authorities have described as “difficult” and “dangerous” and is known to harbor illegal miners, loggers and international drug dealers.

Just a few days before they disappeared, they reportedly received death threats.

“The evidence leads us to believe that some malice was done to them because human entrails have already been found floating in a river that is already in Brazil for DNA testing,” Bolsonaro told CBN radio on Monday morning. .

Bolsonaro also said the chances of finding Pereira and Phillips alive were slim.

“At the moment, the facts say otherwise,” he said.

Blood was found in a boat belonging to a suspect in the couple’s disappearance last week, authorities said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Amazonas secretary-general of state security Carlos Alberto Manzur said the man was arrested after he was found in possession of “lots of drugs” and ammunition used for illegal hunting.

According to him, the police interrogated five more people in connection with the disappearance of the couple.

Authorities also said on Wednesday that they were pursuing multiple lines of investigation, including the murder, and added that they still “could not rule anything out.”

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