By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian police in the state of Amazonas, in the Amazon region announced on Wednesday, that a suspect in the murder of British tourist Emma Kelty confessed to cutting her throat and throwing her body into the Solimões River. Authorities are still looking for the tourist’s body.
Artur Gomes da Silva, known as ‘Beira’, was arrested on Wednesday in the municipality of Coari, 363 km from Manaus and confessed to police killing the tourist for her belongings.
Another person arrested, a teenager, told investigators that Kelty was camping on Boieiro Island, located in front of a riverside community, when she was approached by the group. According to the minor, they took cell phones, electronic equipment and the athlete’s money, after killing her and throwing her body in the Solimões River.
“It’s not about drug traffickers. They are drug users who commit crimes of opportunity. As they passed through Ilha do Boieiro, where the victim’s tent was armed, they committed the crime,” said Deputy Director of the Amazonas police force, Ivo Martins.
According to Martins, the group operates in the municipalities of Coari and Codajás, stealing goods and committing homicides to pay for drugs.
Three men and a minor have been arrested and two others, believed to be involved in the crime, are still at large. Another suspect was killed after alleged fighting with a rival group for the foreigner’s objects.
Accomplished sportswoman, Kelty had been traveling alone in a kayak since last month, leaving Peru, passing through Colombia and entering Brazil through the Solimões River in the Amazon region. According to the Brazilian Navy, authorities started an investigation on September 13th when the Kelty’s emergency locator was activated.
The Brazilian Navy, as well as the Military Police of Amazonas (PMAM) and Military Fire Brigade of Amazonas (CBMAM) are helping police look for Kelty’s body.