The couple traveled in the Javari Valley, in the far west of the Brazilian Amazon, before they were killed.
The boat was at a depth of about 20 meters (more than 65 feet), overturned with six sandbags to make it difficult for her to swim, at a distance of 30 meters from the right bank of the Ithacoai River, near the community of Cachoeira. According to the civilian police report.
The suspect, arrested on Saturday, gave authorities the whereabouts of the boat.
Brazil’s Federal Police confirmed on Sunday that three murder suspects have been arrested and five others are under investigation for their alleged involvement in hiding the victims’ bodies.
“The investigation continues, all the circumstances, causes and defendants of the case are being clarified,” the police said in a statement.
Phillips and Pereira disappeared while doing research for a book project on conservation efforts in the region, which authorities have described as “difficult” and “dangerous” and is known to harbor illegal miners, loggers and international drug dealers.
Just a few days before they disappeared, they reportedly received death threats.
Their case has drawn worldwide attention to the dangers journalists and environmental activists often face in Brazil.
Between 2009 and 2019, more than 300 people were killed in Brazil as a result of land and resource conflicts in the Amazon, according to Human Rights Watch, citing figures from the Pastoral Land Commission, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Catholic Church.
And in 2020, Global Witness ranked Brazil the fourth most dangerous country in terms of environmental activism, based on documented killings of environmentalists. Nearly three-quarters of such attacks in Brazil took place in the Amazon region, he said.