Danelo Cavalcante: Escaped convict captured after Pennsylvania manhunt

Governor says 'no injuries' and 'no shots fired' when Brazilian citizen was taken into custody

A booking photo of escaped convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante and a photo of him while he was on the run. AFP
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Convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured on Wednesday after escaping prison two weeks ago and sparking a manhunt in which hundreds of officers scoured a large area of rural Pennsylvania.

Cavalcante, 34, broke out of Chester County Prison on August 31 by climbing between two walls that formed a narrow corridor in the jail yard and scrambling on to the roof.

His heat signal was picked up at about 1am by an aircraft, but storms prevented teams from continuing to track him until the morning, said Lt Col George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police.

In the meantime, tactical teams secured the area and later moved in with search dogs, he said at a news conference.

“The were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise,” Lt Col Bivens said. “Cavalcante did not realise he was surrounded until that had occurred.”

Cavalcante – armed with a rifle – tried to escape by crawling through thick underbrush. He continued to resist as he was taken into custody after 8am.

A police dog bit him on the scalp, inflicting a minor wound, Lt Col Bivens said. No shots were fired.

“He was desperate and it was just a matter of time,” said Governor Josh Shapiro.

“Thank God there were no injuries to law enforcement or the public.”

Aerial footage from a local television outlet showed an armoured vehicle with Cavalcante arriving at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Avondale.

He was led into the building handcuffed and apparently wrapped in a thermal blanket, the Associated Press reported.

Cavalcante was sentenced to life without parole for killing his girlfriend, Deborah Brandao. He stabbed her dozens of times in front of her two young children in April 2021.

Brazilian prosecutors also said he has been accused of a “double qualified homicide” in 2017.

Updated: September 14, 2023, 7:41 AM