Danelo Cavalcante spotted near Pheonixville; police say the espcaped murder has changed his appearance

LATEST4 hours ago

Danelo Cavalcante’s sister arrested by ICE

Eleni Cavalcante, the sister of escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and faces deportation, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens confirmed Sunday.

Bivens said there were “some immigration issues,” but didn’t say if she was arrested for helping Cavalcante.

— Rob Tornoe and Vinny Vella

5 hours ago

Danelo Cavalcante tried to contact two former coworkers as search moves north in Chester County

Pennsylvania State Troopers are in Nantmeal Village as the search for escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante moves to northern Chester County.. … Read moreTom Gralish / Staff Photographer

Escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante attempted to contact a former co-worker in the Phoenixville area Saturday night, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens told reporters Sunday afternoon.

Bivens said the former coworker, who lives in East Pikeland Township, wasn’t home when Cavalcante showed up. After reviewing doorbell footage, the former coworker contacted police.

The doorbell footage included video and audio of Cavalcante, Bivens said, but police have not decided when or if they’ll release it to the public.

Cavalcante then appeared at the home of another former coworker in the Phoenixville area Saturday night, who also wasn’t home, Bidens said. Another resident present during Cavalcante’s visit called a friend, who then contacted police.

“He’s now trying to get support from associates,” Bivens said.

Cavalcante was also spotted in the Phoenixville area Sunday morning, and the focus of the manhunt is now the northern part of Chester County, Blevins said. That includes a cornfield in Ludwigs Corner west of Phoenixville, where a van stolen from Baily’s Dairy near Longwood Gardens Saturday night was found. Bivens said he believed one reason Cavalcante dumped the van was a lack of fuel.

“In the end, I’m confident we’ll capture him and bring him back into the criminal justice system,” Bivens said. “I do believe he’s still in Pennsylvania.”

— Rob Tornoe


5 hours ago

Sharpshooters set up in field near where police found stolen van

The 2020 Ford Transit van investigators believe fugitive Danelo Calvalcante stole is towed Sunday morning. . … Read moreTom Gralish / Staff Photographer

Police have set up sharpshooters in a field where a van believed to have been stolen by escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante was found Sunday morning, according to a law enforcement source.

Canine units are also in the area, the source said.

A 2020 white Ford van bearing Pennsylvania registration ZST8818 was found Sunday morning in a cornfield in Ludwigs Corner west of Phoenixville. It was stolen from Baily’s Dairy near Longwood Gardens Saturday night, and police said the keys had been left in the van.

“Our delivery van was stolen last night between 7-10PM while we were still here working,” Bailey’s Dairy wrote on its Facebook page Sunday morning.

— Vinny Vella and Rob Tornoe

6 hours ago

Police to offer an update on the search for Danelo Cavalcante

Officials will offer an update on the manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., the Pennsylvania State Police announced.

The press conference will be streamed live on the Chester County district attorney’s Facebook page.

— Rob Tornoe


7 hours ago

State Police say they no longer believe Cavalcante is in Phoenixville

A Pennsylvania State Police helicopter searches for Danelo Cavalcante.Charles Fox / Staff Photographer

Police now believe that escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante – who broke out of the Chester County prison Aug. 31 then recently traveled about 25 miles north – has now fled the Phoenixville area.

Law enforcement officials had focused on that part of Chester County Sunday morning after the 34-year-old appeared on surveillance video Saturday night, shaven and wearing new clothes.

In a statement at 11:28 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police advised residents that “you may no longer see a large law enforcement presence in your area.”

“Investigative leads have emerged that indicate Cavalcante is no longer in that area,” the statement read. “Thank you for support.”

The manhunt for Cavalcante is now in its 11th day.

— William Bender

9 hours ago

Map: Where officials are currently searching for Danelo Cavalcante


10 hours ago

Longwood Gardens says they will assess their opening plans

Longwood Gardens closed, pictured here on Sept. 5.Charles Fox / Staff Photographer

Longwood Gardens, the botanical garden where Danelo Cavalcante had been spotted several times, posted a message on their website after Pennsylvania State Police said the search area for the escaped convict had moved north:

The search for the escaped prisoner has moved north of our community. We are assessing the condition of our Gardens today (Sunday) and will share plans for reopening as soon as we can. Thank you to law enforcement for their ongoing efforts, and to you for your ongoing support and understanding.

Longwood had closed periodically throughout the search for Cavalcante and had not been open since Sept. 7.

— Rob Tornoe

10 hours ago

Cavalcante is familiar with the Phoenixville area

Danelo Cavalcante, who has managed to elude hundreds of law enforcement officers near Longwood Gardens and travel more than 20 miles north across Chester County, has returned to familiar territory.

Both he and the family of his victim, Deborah Brandao, have ties to the Phoenixville area, where Cavalcante was last night.

After killing Brandao in August 2021, Cavalcante received help from friends that live in the area. He parked a rented construction trailer at a lot in Phoenixville, cleaned himself up, changed his clothes and then drove south to Virginia. He was arrested there hours after the stabbing.

At his trial in August, two Cavalcante friends testified that they helped wash Brandao’s blood off his hands and gave Cavalcante a change of clothes and put gas in his car. They testified against him in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

— William Bender and Vinny Vella


11 hours ago

Cavalcante spotted near Phoenixville, has changed his appearance

Escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante is seen on camera near Phoenixville Saturday evening. . … Read moreHandout

Escaped convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante is now clean-shaven, has changed his clothing and now has a vehicle, and was sighted in northern Chester County, near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania State Police announced Sunday morning.

Cavalcante is now minus the mustache and beard he had when he scaled a prison wall in the exercise yard of Chester County Prison and fled on Aug. 31, police said. And instead of the prison-issued white T-shirt, he was last seen wearing a yellow or green hooded sweatshirt, a black baseball-style hat, green prison pants and white shoes, police said in a statement.

He was seen late Saturday night or early Sunday morning near Phoenixville, operating an unknown vehicle possibly white in color, police said.

Prior to this, the last reported sightings were two on Friday within an eight-square-mile search area near Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Phoenixville is nearly 30 miles north, between King of Prussia and Pottstown and just off the busy east-west Route 422.

— Diane Mastrull

12 hours ago

Mushroom fest crowds undaunted by Cavalcante escape

Many gather along State Street for the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pa., on Saturday, Sept., 9, 2023.. … Read moreTyger Williams / Staff Photographer

A 10-day manhunt for an escaped inmate has drawn international media attention and hundreds of law enforcement officers to an otherwise pastoral corner of Chester County.

But the police activity did not discourage crowds Saturday drawn to Kennett Square’s 38th Annual Mushroom Festival — just a stone’s throw from the eight-square-mile search perimeter for convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante.

The weekend festival is pitched around the Brandywine Creek Valley’s reputation as “Mushroom Capital of the World” — the region produces roughly half of the U.S. mushroom yields each year — and features about 200 vendors and a range of fungal delights from mushroom cheesesteaks and risotto to mushroom cappuccino and ice cream.

But this year, the festivities, held through Sunday along the borough’s historic State Street, take place against the dramatic backdrop of the search for a 34-year-old Brazilian national who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend a week before he scaled a wall in one of Chester County Prison’s exercise yards and slipped away on Aug. 31.

» READ MORE: With a manhunt for an escaped murderer going on nearby, visitors flocked to Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

— Ryan W. Briggs

13 hours ago

Prison fires guard on duty when Danelo Cavalcante escaped

The Chester County Correctional Complex in Pocopson Township, Pa. David Maialetti / Staff Photographer

A corrections officer who was on duty at the Chester County Prison when Danelo Cavalcante escaped on August 31 was fired late Thursday, according to a source at the prison.

The officer, whose name was not immediately available, had worked at the prison for 20 years, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

The officer was stationed in a guard tower on Aug. 31, when Cavalcante scaled a narrow wall in an exercise yard to escape. Previously, Acting Warden Howard Holland told reporters that the guard did not see Cavalcante as he fled and had been placed on administrative leave.

In the aftermath of Cavalcante’s escape, prison administrators searched the tower officer and found that he was carrying his personal cell phone in violation of regulations at the prison, the source said Friday.

Cavalcante fled the facility using the same method as Igor Bolte, another inmate who escaped in May. After Bolte was recaptured, prison officials placed razor wire above the wall Bolte had climbed, but the source said Cavalcante was able to push through the razor wire, slightly injuring himself in the process.

Cavalcante’s escape is being investigated by the state Attorney General’s Office, according to county officials.

— Vinny Vella

13 hours ago

Who is Danelo Cavalcante?

Danelo Cavalcante, as seen in photos provided by the Chester County Prison.Chester County Prison via AP

Danelo Cavalcante is a native Brazilian who illegally immigrated to the United States after a warrant was issued for his arrest for murder in his home country in 2017, investigators said. He first traveled to Puerto Rico, where he obtained a fake ID, according to evidence presented during his trial earlier this month.

He settled in Chester County because he had a sister and friends that had arrived here ahead of him, he later told police. Cavalcante worked for a while in construction and other trades, prosecutors said, and rented a storage trailer that he parked at a lot in East Pikeland Township.

Cavalcante was convicted earlier in August of killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, outside of her home in Schuylkill Township in 2021. Authorities have released little information about Cavalcante’s escape, saying that the matter remains under investigation.

He was sentenced to life in state prison and was awaiting transfer to a more secure, state-run correctional facility when he escaped Thursday, according to Chester County District Attorney Deborah Ryan.

— Vinny Vella


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