NITEROI, Brazil – Dom Phillips’ family Sunday said goodbye to the British journalist who was killed along with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira in the Amazon earlier this month.
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 adopted homeland,” Sampaio said.
“He was a very special person, not only because he defended what he believed in as a professional, but because he had a big heart and love for humanity,” she said.
Sian revealed the couple planned to adopt two Brazilian children.
Phillips, a freelance reporter who had written for the Guardian and Washington Post, was researching a book about the trip with Pereira, a former leader of isolated and recently contacted tribes at the Federal Bureau of Indigenous Affairs Funai, when they disappeared in distant Javari – Valley on June 5th.
Her remains were recovered from a grave in the jungle about ten days later after a fisherman named Amarildo da Costa, who had confessed to killing her, led Brazilian police there.
His funeral took place two days after Pereira’s funeral, which was attended by indigenous people who paid their respects with song and dance.
Outside the cemetery where Phillip’s funeral took place, people protested with signs reading “Who gave the order to kill Dom and Bruno?”.
Police said earlier this month that their investigations indicated more people than Costa were involved, but that they likely acted alone and there were no bosses behind the crime. This theory has been challenged by the indigenous group Univaja.
Phillips’ family said they will continue to follow the investigation and seek justice.
“He was killed trying to tell the world what was happening to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.