Escaped killer found hiding in the woods after two-week manhunt

PENNSYLVANIA – After a two-week manhunt, authorities have successfully captured Danelo Cavalcante, a convicted killer who escaped from Chester County Prison on August 31. Cavalcante was found hiding in the Pennsylvania woods, where he had been evading search teams by breaking into suburban homes for food. The fugitive was apprehended without incident on Wednesday morning when K9s located him lying underneath leaves and wood, atop a stolen rifle, according to Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens.

During his capture, Cavalcante attempted to crawl through thick underbrush while carrying his rifle, but was subdued by a K9. He sustained a minor bite wound, resulting in blood dripping down his face as he was escorted to a waiting van by a SWAT team. The double murderer was seen wearing a gray Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt, which was later removed by officers for a search. His tattoos were photographed to confirm his identity before he was taken to a nearby police station for questioning.

The source of the sweatshirt remains unclear, although there have been reports of Cavalcante breaking into residences. Governor Josh Shapiro has urged the owner of the sweatshirt to come forward, promising to provide a replacement. Local residents were alerted to Cavalcante’s arrest through a reverse 911 call.

Cavalcante’s capture came shortly after police established a new search perimeter near South Coventry Township, where he was spotted on Monday night. The manhunt intensified after a homeowner reported firing shots at someone matching Cavalcante’s description who had broken into their home. Investigators discovered shoes believed to belong to the fugitive at the location of the confirmed sighting.

More than 400 law enforcement officers, including SWAT teams and helicopters, were involved in the extensive search for the 34-year-old killer. Cavalcante had been serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in April 2021. The brutal crime took place in front of Brandao’s young children. Prosecutors alleged that Cavalcante killed Brandao because she threatened to alert the police about an active warrant for his arrest in Brazil for another alleged murder in 2017.

An unidentified correctional officer on duty at the observation tower during Cavalcante’s escape has been fired. The daring prison break was captured on security cameras, revealing Cavalcante climbing the walls. The investigation into the escape and subsequent manhunt is ongoing.