The last sign of Fawcett was on May 29, 1925 when Fawcett telegraphed his wife that he was ready to go into unexplored territory only with Jack and Jack's friend Raleigh Rimmell. They were reported to be crossing the Upper Xingu, a south-eastern tributary of the Amazon River. Then nothing more was heard of them.
Many presumed that local Indians had killed them, several tribes being posited at the time – the Kalapalos who last saw them, or the Arumás, Suyás, or Xavantes tribes whose territory they were entering. Both of the younger men were lame and ill when last seen, and there is no proof they were murdered, and it is plausible that they died of natural causes in the Brazilian jungle.
During the following decades, various groups mounted several rescue expeditions without results. They heard only various rumours that could not be verified. In addition to reports that Fawcett had been killed by Indians or wild animals, there was a tale that Fawcett had lost his memory and lived out his life as the chief of a tribe of cannibals.
100 would-be-rescuers have died in more than 13 expeditions sent to uncover Fawcett's fate. A 1951 expedition unearthed bones that were later found to be unconnected to Fawcett or his companions. Kalapalo tribesmen captured a 1996 expedition and released them days later when they gave up all their equipment.
Danish explorer Arne Falk-Rønne journeyed to the Mato Grosso in the 1960s. In a 1991 book he wrote that he learned Fawcett's fate from Orlando Villas Boas, who had heard it from one of Fawcett's murderers. Apparently, Fawcett and his companions had a mishap on the river and lost most of the gifts they'd brought along for the Indian tribes.
Continuing without gifts was a serious breach of protocol; since the expedition members were all more or less seriously ill at the time, the Kalapalo tribe they encountered decided to kill them. The bodies of Jack Fawcett and Raleigh Rimell were thrown into the river; Colonel Fawcett, considered an old man and therefore distinguished, received a proper burial. Falk-Rønne visited the Kalapalo tribe, and reported that one of the tribesmen confirmed Boas' story about how and why Fawcett had been killed.
In 1951 Orlando Villas Boas supposedly received the actual remaining skeletal bones of Fawcett and had them scientifically analyzed. The analysis allegedly confirmed the bones to be Fawcett's. But his son Brian Fawcett (1906-1984, not to be confounded with the Canadian author of the same name) refused to receive the bones. Brian, according to Villas Boas, was too interested in making money from books about his father's disappearance. As of 1965, the bones supposedly rested in a box in the apartment of one of the Villas Boas brothers in São Paulo.
However, in 1998, English explorer Benedict Allen claimed to have found the actual remains of Fawcett. At the same time, the chief of the Kalapalo-tribe, Vajuvi, supposedly confirmed that the bones found by Villas Boas some 45 years before were not really Fawcett's. Vajuvi also denied that his tribe had any part in the Fawcetts' disappearance. No conclusive evidence supports either tale.
On March 21, 2004, British newspaper The Guardian reported that television director Misha Williams, who had studied Fawcett's private papers, found that Fawcett had not intended to return to Britain, but rather meant to found a commune in the jungle based on theosophical principles. Search.com Reference website.
Reccomended books about Colonel Fawcett and his quest to find the Lost City of Z
Essential reading for those interested in finding out more about Colonel Fawcett's adventures in the Amazon jungle is the book by Lt.-Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett himself , Exploration Fawcett edited by his son Brian Fawcett (1953) (also published as Lost Trails, Lost Cities.
Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming
Fleming's 1933 classic Brazilian Adventure is essential reading for anyone interested in this country of 8.5 million square miles and some 145 million people. He reports on the terrors and trials he experienced on his expedition in search of the famous missing explorer, Colonel Fawcett, and his team.
The latest book about Colonel Fawcett is The Lost City of Z by David Grann ( 2009 )
After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, acclaimed New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?
Manhunt in the Jungle - Movie based on the book by George M. Dyott