Danelo Cavalcante escape: Murder convict spotted twice on Friday within search area, police say

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Pennsylvania State Police say there have been two additional confirmed sightings of escaped inmate Danelo Cavalcante.

The two newest sightings were within the search area on Friday, police said.

Danelo Cavalcante, a 34-year-old from Brazil, escaped from the Chester County Prison on Aug. 31 by scaling a wall, climbing over razor wire and jumping from a roof. The breakout mirrored an earlier escape there in May and wasn’t detected by guards for a full hour, authorities say.

For 10 days, Cavalcante has eluded hundreds of law officers, including tactical teams in full combat gear, tracking dogs, cops on horseback and from aircraft.

Chopper 6 was overhead on Friday afternoon as officers swarmed an area near Longwood Gardens, a location where the inmate was spotted several times this week.

Cavalcante remains at large, but investigators believe he is still within the search perimeter of 8 to 10 square miles.

Pennsylvania prison fires tower guard on duty when killer escaped

The Chester County Prison tower guard who did not see or report the escape of convicted killer Cavalcante nine days ago was fired on Thursday, according to the district attorney’s office.

The guard was an 18-year veteran of the prison. He has not been identified.

Video shows Cavalcante walking toward a doorway at the Chester County Prison. He then spends a moment looking over his shoulder.

Cavalcante then places his hands on one wall and his feet on another, then manages to scale the walls while parallel to the ground.

The fired guard was in the observation tower but that person did not see the escape, according to Acting Warden Howard Holland.

Inside the command center

Crews are working in 12-hour shifts to help find the inmate.

Inside a command center, state troopers, customs and border agents and FBI agents are manning the phones, taking in tips and dispatching law enforcement accordingly. They’re also watching live camera feeds and taking in a stream from the helicopter’s aerial view.

A giant map of the latest perimeter is projected on the wall to show exactly where trooper vehicles are stationed to dispatch accordingly.

“We pulled more people in through the night last night, some additional help from other agencies, from our own agency,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens told reporters Friday.

“We have got somewhere north of 350, close to 400 people working on this today as we speak.”

Security increased for Mushroom Festival

As this intense manhunt continues, the Mushroom Festival, a longtime tradition in Kennett Square, is set to begin.

Security is being increased for the two-day festival that brings tens of thousands of people to this part of Chester County.

The Mushroom Festival is just outside of the search perimeter for Cavalcante, but organizers of the event say they are prepared.

“We look at what we’ve got going on in terms of exhibits and the number of vendors and the streets that we encompass, and we have a great security system group this year,” said Gale Ferranto, the Mushroom Festival coordinator.

Inmate caught on camera again

On Thursday night, Longwood Gardens closed early and evacuated amid a massive law enforcement response.

Sources tell Action News the flurry of activity was in response to the discovery of an image of Cavalcante captured on a trail camera on Longwood Gardens property. That image was captured Wednesday evening but was not viewed until Thursday afternoon by law enforcement sifting through hundreds of captured images from trail cameras throughout the perimeter.

A text message was sent out by Longwood Gardens ordering those on the property to shelter in place as a precaution.

The garden says it will be closed until further notice.

Since the escape, there have been multiple sightings near Longwood Gardens and the surrounding area that police believe could be Cavalcante.

Cavalcante changed from a nice neighbor to a jealous boyfriend, victim’s sister says

The escaped prisoner was convicted of killing his former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, stabbing her 38 times in front of her two young children in Schuylkill Township in 2021.

The victim’s sister, Sarah Brandao, told CNN that Cavlacante seemed to transform over time, eventually exuding jealousy and threatening Deborah before her death.

Sarah, who lived near both of them and is taking care of Deborah’s two children and well as her own daughter in Pennsylvania, is terrified about his escape and worried that he could come after her.

“I haven’t slept for many days. Since (his escape) I have been waking up with fright at night. I nap and wake up with fright,” Sarah Brandao told CNN in an interview translated from Portuguese to English.

His behavior toward Deborah changed over time, Sarah said.

“She kept saying that he was extremely jealous – that when he drank, he became a different person; that he kept going through her cell phone,” Sarah said.

  • September 9, 2023
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