August 14, 2005

U.S. professor shot dead in Brazil’s Amazon

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A U.S. anthropology professor on a
research trip to Brazil was shot and killed on Saturday in an
Amazon rainforest town, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said on

James Petersen, 51, of the University of Vermont, was shot
while he was being robbed in a restaurant in the town of
Iranduba, about 14 miles west of Amazonas state capital Manaus,
the spokesman, John Wilcock, said.

Three suspects were taken into custody on Sunday morning in
connection with Petersen's murder, Brazil's CBN radio reported.
Wilcock could not confirm the information. Federal police in
Manaus were not immediately available for comment.

Petersen, chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the
University of Vermont, was on a research field trip with
colleagues in the Manaus area, located around 1200 miles (1900
km) northwest of the capital Brasilia. He was working with the
University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on a joint research study
known as the Central Amazon Project.

Petersen was with a Brazilian anthropologist from the
University of Sao Paulo when he was robbed and shot on Saturday
night while eating dinner at a roadside restaurant, CBN
reported. Petersen died shortly afterward, Wilcock said.