These are the heartbreaking final photos of murdered British headteacher Emma Kelty – taken by villagers who begged her not to continue her journey along the Amazon River.
Just three days after Ms Kelty smiled and waved goodbye to the locals, she was tortured and killed.
Villagers had warned the 43-year-old not to leave alone, telling her the last foreign kayaker to pass through the area had been murdered.
Just three days after Ms Kelty smiled and waved goodbye to the locals, she was tortured and killed
Seeing a lone foreign woman about to venture into the notoriously lawless stretch beyond the Coari region, the villagers went out in boats to intercept her and persuaded her to stop for an hour.
One woman, Miliane Vicente, who spoke little English, took Ms Kelty to a relative’s home and then to a school so they could communicate using Google translate.
Ms Kelty, who was attempting to travel solo the 4,000 miles from the river’s source to the sea, was shocked to learn the fate of the kayaker. But when the villagers of Sao Joao de Catua offered to escort her, she refused.
They took the pictures of her paddling off, and just a few hours later she joked in a post on Facebook: ‘In 100km in Coari my boat will be robbed and I will be killed. Nice.’
Ms Vicente told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We looked her in the eyes and begged her not to attempt that stretch of the river. I said that it was very dangerous, that there were drugs traffickers and pirates there. We told her they would kill her.
‘We offered to go with her to Coari but she refused. I’ll never forget her last words, which she wrote on Google translate.
Villagers had warned the 43-year-old not to leave alone, telling her the last foreign kayaker to pass through the area had been murdered
She said, “I have to go, the more time I am spending here the less time I have to enjoy. Your hearts are very kind, but I have to go, thank you.”
‘So I took her back to her kayak and she asked to take a photo of us. She said goodbye and waved, and I wished her good luck in English.’
Two days later, Ms Kelty posted that she had come across 30 men ‘in boats with arrows and rifles’, but still she paddled on.
A day later, after pitching her tent on a beach near Coari, she was ambushed by seven men, who shot her and dumped her body in the river.
Ms Vicente said: ‘I’ll always regret not being able to convince her not to go there.’