Pennsylvania State Police have announced the capture of 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante, a convicted murderer who had been on the run for 14 days after escaping from Chester County Prison. This development came as a significant relief to the residents of Pocopson Township, Pennsylvania, who had been living in fear and advised to remain vigilant during the manhunt.
Cavalcante had originally been sentenced to life without parole for the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend, 38-year-old Deborah Brandao, who was stabbed 38 times in front of her two young children in Schuylkill Township in 2021. The jury had deliberated for just 15 minutes before unanimously convicting Cavalcante. Following the murder, it was discovered that he was also wanted in his native Brazil on homicide charges.
Cavalcante’s escape from the Chester County Prison on August 31 was executed by scaling a wall, navigating razor wire, and maneuvering across the prison roof. This method closely resembled a previous escape by inmate Igor Vidra Bolte, who had also used a similar route. The crucial difference between the two escapes was the tower guard’s actions. In Bolte’s case, the guard promptly reported the escape, leading to Bolte’s recapture within five minutes. In Cavalcante’s escape, the tower officer did not observe nor report the incident, and the escape was only discovered during inmate counts.
The corrections officer on duty during Cavalcante’s escape was subsequently terminated on September 7. In response to these incidents, prison authorities have initiated measures to enhance security, including enclosing the exercise yards, installing additional security cameras, and increasing officer presence to aid in monitoring inmates.
Cavalcante’s capture was the culmination of a relentless manhunt, which at its peak involved nearly 400 personnel from multiple law enforcement agencies. He was last seen running near Longwood Gardens, approximately five miles southwest of the prison. Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, emphasized that they would continue the search at an appropriate pace as long as necessary due to the danger Cavalcante posed.
In a turn of events, it was the second high-profile inmate escape in Pennsylvania in less than two months. Michael Burham, a suspect in a rape and murder case from New York, managed to escape from the Warren County Jail on July 6 but was apprehended following an extensive manhunt in the northern Pennsylvania woods on July 15.
Cavalcante’s capture signifies the end of a two-week ordeal for Pocopson Township residents.