Katherine Brewster, 27, had been staying in the village of Dom Jose
The daughter of a celebrity therapist is missing in a remote stretch of Brazilian wilderness after she was last spotted heading barefoot to a nearby beauty spot to meditate.
An experienced traveller with a ‘philosophy of living in contact with nature’, Katherine Brewster, 27, had been staying in the village of Dom Jose, a tiny community in the south Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Villagers last saw her walking towards a wooded area on Sunday en route to a nearby dam, where she would often go to meditate.
But the area she would walk through runs alongside the vast Uruguay River, where attacks by anacondas, alligators and jaguars have also been reported.
She was said to have left the suitcase and nearly all her belongings at the house where she was staying, taking only her passport and credit card.
Brazilian media said police feared she had got lost in woodland or fallen in a reservoir, but villagers said this was unlikely as the woods were small and she could not have fallen in the water without anybody noticing.
Initial reports said she had been living in a nearby hippy commune run by an environmental organisation called UniPermacultura, but a director later denied she had been ‘a student, or a guest, or a resident’ there.
In a statement, Clairton da Silva said Miss Brewster was staying with villagers, adding that the region was ‘composed of quiet and peaceful families’ and that there was no violent crime.
Close friends added Miss Brewster was known to often venture out on solo hikes, and said they were not jumping to conclusions and were hoping she would be in touch soon.
She arrived arrived in the country over a month ago with the specific intention of staying at an eco-village (pictured) in the area
Last night Mr da Silva revealed the precise circumstances of Miss Brewster’s unusual arrival in the area. He told the Mail she had arrived in the Dom Jose village without warning and was ‘extremely reserved’.
He said: ‘She turned up one morning at the home of the couple saying she wanted to rent a room there. The couple had gone out for the day and she had to wait outside the house the whole day before they arrived back in the evening.
She said that she had come on the recommendation of someone we first thought was her boyfriend, an Argentinian called Leon. But he was probably just a friend she had met at another alternative community gathering.
‘He had come to the village last year to take part in an event and later came back to stay in this couple’s home, but never stayed with us in the ecovillage. But by the time Katherine arrived he had already gone.
Well-connected father: Mr Wallas’s book has been praised by the Duchess of York (both pictured)
‘She stayed for a month. There are only 28 families living in the village and everybody knew who Katherine was, although she rarely spoke to anyone.
‘She would spend the whole day on her own in a wooded area just behind the house, reading and meditating and being with nature. She’d get up early in the morning and go and meditate there.
‘On Sunday they woke up and she wasn’t in her room, so they imagined she had gone off to meditate. When she hadn’t come back at the end of the afternoon, they saw that she’d taken her passport and credit card and thought that she might have gone away.
‘We don’t believe she got lost in the woods because they are very small, or that she fell into the river because there were lots of people around that area who might have seen her. We are just hoping that for some reason she took herself off of her own accord and that she’s alive and well.’
The Brazilian homeowner she had been staying with, Neli da Terra, said Miss Brewster had been renting a space in her home for 32 days, but had vanished on Sunday morning without ‘leaving any note or information about her fate’.
Her father, Andrew Wallas, 62, is a well-known counsellor and relationship adviser who calls himself ‘The Modern Day Wizard’ and counts Sarah Ferguson and Davina McCall as fans.
Creative space: Two residents playing music at the remote resort in south Brazil
The Duchess of York was recently pictured with Mr Wallas alongside his latest book, Business Alchemy, which she described as ‘great’.
Miss Brewster’s mother, Dr Diane Brewster, 62, is an academic specialising in pedagogy who lives in the coastal town of Seaford, East Sussex.
Last night the family, who are in contact with consular authorities, said they did not wish to comment at this stage.
Miss Brewster’s younger sister Lizzie earlier took to Facebook for help, writing in Portuguese: ‘If you have happened to talk to Kat in the last few days, or know where she might be, please contact me. I’m trying to talk to her urgently.’
Community dig: Gardeners practise sustainable farming at the ecovillage where the 27-year-old was staying
She also asked Jeis Carvalho, thought to be Katherine’s boyfriend, to ‘please get in contact’ with her. Known to family and friends as Kat, Miss Brewster had also visited Bolivia, Morocco and India but had said she was planning to come back to the UK next year.
Brazilian police chief Ercilio Carletti said: ‘We’re in contact with the search team to help with sniffer dogs in case she is lost in the woods.
‘She could also have left to go voluntarily to another place, because she took her documents. One of the hypotheses is that she went into the lake, which is very deep. The area there has many ravines, it’s very complicated.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Our staff are assisting the family of a British woman who has been reported missing in Brazil and are in contact with the local police.’