Police told AP by phone that they have "more or less identified the site and the area in general." Their next move is figuring out how to recover the body, which will be difficult, considering the Sentinelese tribe isn't exactly known for welcoming outsiders with open arms. Investigators visited the island's surroundings Friday to ascertain the location of Chau's body.
In 2006, the Indian Coast Guard's attempt to recover the bodies of two crab fishermen who were killed by the tribe were foiled: they were repelled by arrows shot at them by the Sentinelese, the Telegraph reported.
Dependra Pathak, the director general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the former of which North Sentinel Island is a member, noted that the Friday visit to the island involved a team composed of personnel from the police, forest department, tribal welfare department and coast guard, AP reported.
Also included in the group were two individuals who were previously arrested for helping Chau get to the remote island, which is protected by laws that bar outsiders from fishing within 5 nautical miles of the island, and prohibit tourism near the island. A total of seven people have been arrested for assisting Chau.
Pathak told AP that during the group's hours-long observation of the island, they took the opportunity to pinpoint where it was that the fishermen spotted Chau's body being dragged prior to his burial on November 17. Staying at a distance of roughly 500 meters from the island, officials were also able to take notes of the tribe's behavior.
The group's second observation, which took place on Saturday, didn't go as planned, eventually turning sour after tribesmen on the beach entered a staring match with Indian authorities, according to AFP. "They stared at us and we were looking at them," Pathak said.
In an effort to avoid a showdown, officials retreated.
Per the AFP, Indian officials are reviewing the 2006 case in order to better understand the group, and to see if the Sentinelese will prop up Chau's body on bamboo stakes, as they previously did with the crab fishermen.
In a series of notes he later handed to his fishermen aides, Chau wrote that he was called to the island in order to "declare Jesus to these people." His diary entries also indicate that he was well aware that the Sentinelese people aren't fond of contact with the outside world.
Although Chau's family has called on Indian officials to release the seven arrestees, authorities have vowed to continue on with their investigation in an effort to uphold the law. "I understand the emotional concern of the family… but we'll handle the entire issue keeping in mind the law," Pathak previously told Reuters.
Chau arrived in the area on October 16, staying on another island while he prepared for his trip to North Sentinel Island. Reports suggest that he paid a handful of fishermen roughly $325 to take him to the island. Chau previously visited the Andaman Islands in 2015 and 2016.