The Phillips family told CNN in an email that Fred Arruda, Brazil’s ambassador to London, wrote to them on Tuesday: “We are very sorry that yesterday the embassy gave the family information that was not confirmed.”
The family said Roberto Doring, deputy chief of mission for the Brazilian embassy in London, called them on Monday to tell them that the bodies had been found.
In a statement, the family said: “We were told by phone that two bodies had been found, but (due to the fact that it was still early in the morning in Brazil) no identification was carried out.”
Brazilian Federal Police have repeatedly denied finding any bodies in their search for Phillips and Brazilian explorer Bruno Pereira, and on Monday night they said the day’s search had ended “but nothing was found.”
“The information that is being released about the found bodies of Mr. Bruno Pereira and Mr. Dom Phillips is not true,” the federal police said. “As already reported, biological materials have been found and are being investigated, as well as personal belongings of the missing. As soon as anything is discovered, the family and the media will be informed immediately.”
Indigenous organizations involved in the search also said the information about the two bodies was untrue.
Beatriz Matos, Pereira’s wife, tweeted on Monday that police had told her family that “nobody was found.”
“It is necessary to understand where the ambassador got this information from,” Matos wrote.
On Tuesday, police arrested a second 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 second suspect, a 41-year-old man, is being questioned and will be transferred to a municipal court hearing. They also stated that they had seized several firearms cartridges and an oar, which would be analyzed.
Arruda said in an email to the Phillips family that officials close to the investigation “misled” embassy officials.
“On reflection, there was a setback from the inter-agency team, for which I sincerely apologize,” he said, adding: “The search operation will continue with no effort. Our thoughts remain with Dom, Bruno, ourselves and other members of both families.”
In a statement sent to CNN, Brazil’s foreign ministry also confirmed its ambassador’s apology for passing on “information that turned out to be incorrect.”
They were doing research for a book project about conservation efforts in a region that authorities have described as “challenging” and “dangerous” and known to harbor illegal miners, loggers and international drug dealers.