Dom Phillips’ family said goodbye to the British journalist on Sunday, who was killed in the Amazon earlier this month with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira.
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 chosen home,” Sampaio said.
“He was a very special person, not only for the defense he believed in as a professional, but also because he had a big heart and a great love for humanity,” she said.
Sian revealed that the couple was planning to adopt two Brazilian children.
Phillips, a freelance reporter who wrote for the Guardian and The Washington Post, was researching a book about the trip with Pereira, a former head of the federal agency for indigenous affairs, FUNAI, who isolated and locating recently contacted tribes — when they disappeared on June 5 in the remote Javari Valley.
Their remains were found about 10 days later from a grave in the jungle after a fisherman who confessed to killing them led Amarildo da Costa, Brazilian police there.
Phillips’ commemoration took place two days after Pereira’s funeral, which was attended by indigenous peoples who paid their respects with song and dance.
Outside the cemetery where Phillips’ 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 more individuals outside Costa were involved, but that they probably acted alone, with no bosses behind the crime. This 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 tried to tell the world what was happening to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” Sian said.