NITEROI, Brazil – The family of Dom Phillips on Sunday bid farewell to the British journalist, 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 57-year-old’s funeral in Niteroi near Rio de Janeiro.
“Today Dom will be cremated in the country he loved, his chosen home,” Sampaio said.
“He was a very special person not only for defending what he believed in as a professional but also for having a huge heart and great love for humanity,” she said.
Sian revealed that the couple was planning to adopt two Brazilian children.
Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was doing research for a book on the trip with Pereira, a former head of isolated and recently contacted tribes at federal indigenous affairs agency Funai, when they vanished in the remote Javari Valley on June 5.
Their remains were recovered from a grave in the jungle roughly 10 days later after a fisherman who confessed to killing them, Amarildo da Costa, led Brazil’s police there.
His memorial happened two days after Pereira’s funeral, which was attended by indigenous peoples who paid their respects with song and dance.
Outside the cemetery where Phillips’ funeral was held people protested with signs reading “Who ordered to kill Dom and Bruno?”
Police said earlier this month that their investigation suggested that more individuals were involved beyond Costa but that they were likely to have acted alone, with no bosses behind the crime. That theory was challenged by indigenous group Univaja.
Phillips’ family said they will keep following the investigation and demanding justice.
“He was killed because he tried to tell the world what was happening to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.