Pennsylvania Escaped Murderer: Schools Closed As Police Expand Search For Danelo Cavalcante


Police in Pennsylvania released new photos Tuesday of a convicted murderer who escaped prison last week and remains on the run, prompting schools and a local park in the Philadelphia suburbs to close as officials urge nearby residents to secure their homes, warning the escaped prisoner is “extremely dangerous.”

Key Facts

The District Attorney’s office in Chester County, Pennsylvania, released photos Tuesday afternoon showing a new sighting of Danelo Cavalcante, who had been convicted on first-degree murder charges in July and escaped Chester County State Prison—just over 20 miles west of Philadelphia—on Thursday.

A series of black-and-white photos released on the county’s Facebook page show a man believed to be Cavalcante carrying a backpack and wearing what police believe are prison-issued long pants, walking outside both shirtless and with a long-sleeve shirt.

Those sightings were the latest confirmed by local police, which said in a press conference on Tuesday that Cavalcante had been spotted at least four times, including once by an officer who attempted to pursue him on foot before losing sight of him, as well as a series of photos from surveillance cameras at the nearby Longwood Gardens park, which is closed to the public.

Two local school districts—the Unionville-Chadds Ford and Kennett Consolidated districts—shut their doors before classes started on Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend, officials said on Tuesday.

Police expanded their search beyond a 2-mile radius of the state prison from which Cavalcante escaped, after he was spotted in an area south of the previous search area, where State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said the terrain is so dense with vegetation that search teams “can’t be more than a couple of yards apart or they, at times, lose sight of one another.”

Bivens said he believes Cavalcante is moving south, but remains in Pennsylvania, and urged residents in the search area to secure their houses and vehicles, saying: “It is important to keep pressure on him as we continue this hunt.”

Surprising Fact

Police over the weekend broadcast the voice of Cavalcante’s mother from police vehicles and a helicopter, pleading for her son to safely turn himself in.

Key Background

Cavalcante escaped prison on August 30, less than a month after he was convicted of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing his then girlfriend, Deborah Brandao. Cavalcante, who was sentenced to life in prison, had also been wanted for murder in Brazil, where he was born, and had carried out the murder of his girlfriend after she threatened to inform police of his previous murder allegation, prosecutors said. He had been scheduled to be transferred to a state correctional facility to serve the remainder of his life sentence. After he escaped late last week, multiple businesses had shut down, including Longwood Gardens, as well as the Brandywine Museum of Art and West Chester University.


Cavalcante, 34, is believed to have escaped from the prison through an exercise area after he ran across a roof and jumped to an area with less security, according to a source at the prison who spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer. His method of escape is believed to have been the same one used by Igor Bolte, who escaped the same prison in May, though he was caught just hours later.

Big Number

$10,000. That’s the reward for anyone who brings information that leads to Cavalcante’s capture, the Chester County District Attorney’s office said on Tuesday. Police say Cavalcante is 5 feet tall and 120 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Further Reading

Escaped Murderer Remains At Large As Police Broadcast Mother’s Voice From Helicopter (Forbes)

Escaped killer Danelo Cavalcante spotted on Longwood Gardens camera as manhunt continues (Philadelphia Inquirer)


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