RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – A body that washed up on a beach near Rio de Janeiro three days ago is that of missing Australian traveler Rye Hunt, Brazilian police said Saturday.
Police inspector Elen Souto said in a statement that forensic tests confirmed the identity. The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition, and investigators have not been able to establish the cause of death.
Hunt, a 25-year-old electrician at a mine in western Australia, arrived in Rio de Janeiro on May 16 as part of a world trip with a friend. The pair started in Southeast Asia and planned to spend two months in South America before heading to Europe, Hunt’s girlfriend, Bonnie Cuthbert told reporters last week.
Hunt went missing May 21 after leaving Rio’s airport following an apparent quarrel with his friend.
Police have said Hunt and his friend had used drugs before going to the airport. They have not explained where that information came from, but Brazilian media have reported that witnesses said the pair appeared to be under the influence.
Cuthbert said last week that in the many years she has known Hunt, she never knew him to use illicit substances.
Hunt’s family confirmed the identification on a Facebook page dedicated to finding him. It asked for the family’s privacy to be respected and said relatives would not be available for comment.