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Rye Hunt Search: Body Found Outside Rio, Family 'Disgusted' By Photos Sent From Brazilian Media

The missing Australian tourist was last seen at a Rio apartment on May 21.

09/06/2016 1:10 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Rye Hunt, an electrician who worked at a mine in western Australia, was in Rio as part of a world trip with a friend.

The family of missing Australian tourist Rye Hunt are "disgusted" that photos of a body found outside of Rio de Janeiro were sent to them by Brazilian media for identification.

Australian authorities notified the Hunt family overnight that a body had been found in Marica, 25 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro, on Wednesday morning.

Brazilian police are recovering the body and verifying whether it is that of the 25-year-old man who vanished in Rio de Janeiro last month. He has not been seen since May 21.

"We are disgusted that photos of the body have been published by media outlets and sent directly via text to family members by Brazilian journalists, asking us to confirm the identity," the family said in a statement.

"It goes without saying that this crosses many professional and personal boundaries."

The body was reportedly recovered from the water, at Marica.

Gabriel Rosa, a journalist from Brazilian newspaper O GLobo, said police informed local media of the sighting.

"Civilian police has sent an email informing that a body was found in Marica and the body was probably from Rye and they were sending the body to Niteroi, which is a city between Rio and Marica," he said.

"It was a male body, still unidentified. It has the shirts that Rye was wearing and the shorts."

Of course it's insensitive, and it's a very difficult time for the family, so I would urge the Brazilian media to respect the family's concerns and the obvious trauma that they're experiencing at that time.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there had been no confirmation about the identity of the body, according to the ABC.

"I'm not in a position to confirm that the reports of the body are indeed Mr Hunt, but as soon as we have any information from the authorities in Brazil, we will provide it to the families," she said.

"But this is obviously a very difficult time for them and we are providing the family with consular support."

She urged local media to be respectful of the family's privacy as the investigation continues.

"Of course it's insensitive, and it's a very difficult time for the family, so I would urge the Brazilian media to respect the family's concerns and the obvious trauma that they're experiencing at that time," she said.

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Mr Hunt's partner Bonnie Cuthbert and his uncle are currently in Rio to assist authorities with the search.

Mr Hunt was last seen on CCTV checking into a Copacabana Beach apartment in Rio de Janeiro after leaving his travel companion at the airport.

The night before, Mr Hunt allegedly took a powerful and dangerous hallucinogen, the synthetic psychedelic drug NBOMe, believing it was a form of ecstasy.

In a previous statement, his family said his subsequent behaviour was "out of character".

Brazilian authorities called off a 72-hour sea search last week after a fisherman spotted a body floating off Rio's coast in similar clothes to those worn by Mr Hunt when he vanished.

But while there have been alleged sightings of the Australian man, "these sightings are yet to be verified in formal police reports," the statement read.

Mr Hunt's uncle and his partner Bonnie Cuthbert are currently in Rio to assist Brazilian authorities with the search.

"If anyone has any information, potential sightings, video footage (personal or CCTV), mentions of sightings on social media or in person, we'd appreciate them sending the information to FindRye@gmail.com. We are particularly interested in any information related to Rye after 18:07 on May 21," she said.

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