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Rye Hunt Confirmed As The Deceased Body Found In Rio

Update: 

MP Julia Bishop has confirmed that Rye Hunt's body was found deceased in Rio after an extended search for the missing man. 

"I can confirm that Brazilian authorities have informed us that the body that was discovered recently near Rio De Janeiro is in fact that of Australian citizen, Rye Duval Hunt," she said.

"The Australian consular service has been working closely with the family, we have been working closely with the Brazilian authorities."

Hunt was missing for three weeks before the discovery of a body. 

His family are yet to make a formal statement on the findings. 

Earlier: 

A body with clothing similar to that worn by missing Australian Rye Hunt has been spotted by fishermen in the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police say.

The sighting on Wednesday morning, near the island of Rasa eight kilometres from Copacabana Beach, was reported to the Brazilian navy.

A search began on Wednesday afternoon and has continued through Friday, Rio's Civil Police said.

The 25-year-old Tasmanian has been missing since May 21, when he decided to cut his stay in Brazil short and travel to Bolivia from Rio's international airport.

Police believe the backpacker argued with travelling buddy Mitchell Sheppard, with whom he had taken MDMA hours earlier, at the airport and returned to Copacabana and checked into an apartment.

He was said to be in a paranoid or psychotic state.

Until now, the last sighting had been by another fisherman on the uninhabited Cotunduba Island, one kilometre from Copacabana, where he had apparently swam, on the next day, May 22.

He is said to have been in an agitated state and to have begged for water to drink.

Rye's family declined to discuss the sighting of a body when they were asked about it at a press conference on Friday near Copacabana Beach.

His girlfriend of five years, Bonnie Cuthbert, 25, spoke of the last message he sent to her - apparently between taking the MDMA and arguing with Sheppard - before he disappeared.

"He sent me a message that morning (of May 21), saying he loved me, missed me and would message me when he got to Bolivia," she said.

"We are here to find Rye. To try and get as much information as we can," she added. We are apprehensive and nervous. But we are also hopeful and determined."

The electrician, who worked at a mine in Western Australia, had saved for three years to take the trip through South-East Asia, South America and Europe, she said.

Her boyfriend was "loving and a big bear", she added. "But on the outside he's this big tough man who can do anything."

The family declined to discuss details of the search for Rye, but said that Sheppard, 22, was helping as much as he could and they were handing out leaflets at places in Rio known to Rye.

"The police are being amazing," said Cuthbert.

The family also would not discuss the suggestion that he had taken MDMA. But Cuthbert said: "He never used drugs. He is the biggest fitness freak you'll ever meet."

"We are optimistic and will remain that way," added Rye's uncle Michael Wholohan, 50, of the search for his nephew. "We'll stay here for as long as it takes."

AAP / Image: AAP One

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