Three members of the same family were shot dead at their riverfront house where they bred turtles for 20 years, according to police in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará.

The victims were identified as José Gomes, his wife Márcia Nunes Lisboa, and her teenage daughter Joane Nunes Lisboa, who died on the island of Cachoeira da Mucura, on the banks of the Xingu River in So Félix do Xingu, Brazil.

Corpses Found Outside Family's Home

The bodies were discovered in the early stages of decomposition outside the family's home on Sunday.

One of the corpses floats in the river, as shown in a video uploaded on social media. Another lies collapsed and barefoot in a puddle, while the other lies fallen by the river bank.

The bodies were discovered by Gomes' son.

The motive for the killings has yet to be determined, according to police.

Gomes and his family raised thousands of baby turtles that they release into the river once a year, sometimes with the assistance of neighbors or locals.

The investigation's civil police chief, José Carlos Rodrigues, told regional media that the crimes had shaken the community.

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Environmental Advocates Grieves for Family

Environmentalists and human rights advocates grieved the family's death on social media.

A former environment minister, Marina Silva, wrote on a Twitter post, "They worked for the sake of life in the river, land and for life in general. And they were slaughtered, their lives were taken with gunfire."

In a video last December, Gomes drops buckets of newborn turtles into the river, explaining how the family has been doing this activity for 20 years.

Gomes revealed in a video that they are attempting to repopulate the river with newborn turtles so that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would be able to catch them in the future.

In a public statement, Amnesty International Brazil stated, "Those responsible for the atrocities must be identified and held accountable immediately and efficiently."

He added that the state of Brazil commits it to the Amazon area and the rest of the country to stop the wave of violence and the cycle of impunity that is sweeping the nation.

Félix do Xingu, the home of the turtle breeder family, has continuously ranked first among Brazil's most deforested municipalities, according to government data.

According to a report released by NGO Global Witness last year, Brazil was ranked the fourth-deadliest country for land and environmental defenders in 2020. Over three-quarters of the 20 killings were recorded in the country's nine Amazon states.

Murders like these are frequently unpunished, establishing a cycle of violence and impunity.

According to Brazil's Pastoral Land Commission, a land violence watchdog, Pará, which has an area five times that of the United Kingdom, has been one of the deadliest states for land defenders, with less than 5% of land-conflict homicides getting to court.

While the number of murders of land and environmental activists in Brazil has decreased from a high of 57 in 2017, according to government data, the country's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has overseen a major increase in deforestation in the Amazon.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Jess Smith

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