NITEROI, Brazil – Dom Phillips’ family said goodbye to the British journalist on Sunday, who was killed earlier this month along with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon.
Phillip’s 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 to defend what he believed in as a professional, but also to have a big heart and a great love for humanity,” she said.
Sian revealed that the couple planned to adopt two Brazilian children.
Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for The Guardian and the Washington Post, researched a book about the journey of Pereira, a former leader of isolated and recently contacted tribes at the federal indigenous agency Funai, when they disappeared into the distance. Javaridalen 5 June.
Their remains were retrieved from a jungle grave about 10 days later after a fisherman who confessed 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 people who showed their respect with song and dance.
Outside the cemetery where Phillip’s funeral was held, people protested with signs reading “Who ordered the killing of Dom and Bruno?”
Police said earlier this month that their investigation indicated that several people were involved outside Costa, but that they had probably acted alone, without the bosses behind the crime. That theory was challenged by the indigenous group Univaja.
Phillips’ family said they would continue to pursue the investigation and demand justice.
“He was killed because he was trying to tell the world what happened to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.