The Brazilian ambassador to the United Kingdom has apologized to the family of the missing journalist Dom Phillips after they were wrongly told that two bodies had been found in the search operation.
Phillips’ family told CNN in an email that Fred Arruda, Brazil’s ambassador to London, wrote to them on Tuesday, saying: “We deeply regret that the embassy provided the family with further information that did not turn out to be correct.”
According to the family, Roberto Doring, deputy head of the mission at the Brazilian embassy in London, called them on Monday to tell them that the body had been found.
In a statement, the family said: “We were told by telephone that two bodies had been found, but that (due to the fact that it was still early morning in Brazil) no identification had taken place.”
The Brazilian federal police have repeatedly denied having found any bodies in the search for Phillips and the Brazilian researcher Bruno Pereira, and on Monday night they said that the day’s search had ended “but nothing was found”.
“The information released about the bodies of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips that was found is not accurate,” federal police said. “As already revealed, biological material was found and examined, as well as personal belongings of the missing. As soon as something is found, the family and the media will be informed immediately. ”
The indigenous organizations involved in the search also said that the information about the two bodies was inaccurate.
On Monday, Beatriz Matos, Pereira’s wife, said on Twitter that police had told her family that “no one was found”.
“It is necessary to understand where the ambassador got this information from,” Matos wrote.
On Tuesday, police arrested another suspect in connection with the couple’s disappearance, according to a press release from the federal police. The first suspect was arrested last week.
Police said the other suspect, a 41-year-old man, was questioned and will be referred to custody in municipal court. They also said they seized some firearm cartridges and an oar, which will be analyzed.
Arruda said in an email to Phillips’ family that officials close to the investigation had “misled” embassy staff.
“On closer inspection, there was rain from the multi-agency team, which I strongly regret,” he said, adding: “The search operation will continue, without saving any effort. Our thoughts remain with Dom, Bruno, yourself and the other members of both families. ”
In a statement sent to CNN, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry also confirmed the ambassador’s apology for continuing “information that turned out to be incorrect”.
Phillips and Pereira were missing on June 5, during a trip in the Javari Valley, in the western part of the state of Amazonas.
They researched a book project on conservation work in the region, which the authorities have described as “complicated” and “dangerous”, and which is known for housing illegal miners, lumberjacks and international drug traffickers.