POCOPSON TWP., Penn. — The manhunt continues for a convicted murderer who escaped the Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township, Pennsylvania.
Federal and local law enforcement have been searching for 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante since his 8:50 a.m. escape on Thursday.
He was recently spotted around 1:43 a.m. Saturday on surveillance video on the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pocopson Township. It’s about 1.5 miles from the prison.
He was observed wearing pants, a white T-shirt and white sneakers, and he had a backpack.
Authorities believe that he’s been wearing prison-issued pants and prison-issued shorts underneath when he escaped on August 31. They do not know at this time where he obtained the backpack.
“His appearance has remained unchanged,” District Attorney Deb Ryan said during a Saturday press conference.
Police have responded to well over 100 tips from neighbors in the area, including allegations of possible break-ins to residential homes in the vicinity, within a one to two-mile radius of the prison.
Around 11:30 p.m. Friday, one resident reported an attempted burglary on the 1000 block of Ballintree Lane in Pocopson Township. It’s still unclear if it was Cavalcante.
“We are requesting that residents in the area of Pocopson Township remain inside. Lock your doors, lock your cars. He is still considered an extremely dangerous individual. There is evidence to suggest that he’s still in that local residence. We do not believe he has gotten more than one to two miles away from the prison,” said Ryan.
“We believe we are getting closer to locating the suspect at this time, and we are narrowing the scope of our search,” Ryan added.
Convicted for stabbing former girlfriend
Cavalcante was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 16 for fatally stabbing his former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, 38 times in front of her two young children in Schuylkill Township in 2021, officials said. At the time there was an active warrant for his arrest for an alleged murder that occurred in his native country of Brazil in 2017, according to Ryan.
A jury took just 15 minutes to convict Cavalcante.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole last week for the fatal stabbing and was set to be transferred to a state correctional institution in four weeks, Ryan said.
When did he escape
The escape happened around 8:50 a.m. Thursday, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office says. Cavalcante was seen walking on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township around 9:40 a.m.
How did this happen?
Authorities are still trying to figure out how he was able to escape the prison.
“There is no evidence at this time that anyone has helped to facilitate this escape, or is assisting him at this time,” said DA Ryan. “We believe he is hiding here locally and he is alone.”
Howard Holland, the acting warden of the prison, said Thursday an investigation is underway into how the escape happened.
“Once we knew we had an issue with an inmate not being there, we immediately followed our protocols, locked down the prison, did what we call a special count to confirm there was only one person missing,” Holland said.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the U.S. Marshals’ Tipline at 877-WANTED-2.
There is a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to Cavalcante’s capture.
What does Danelo Cavalcante look like?
Cavalcante is five feet tall and weighs 120 pounds with long, shaggy black curly hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with grey shorts with white sneakers. He is a Brazilian man who speaks Portuguese and Spanish and some English.
Cavalcante has family in Phoenixville and his victim’s family is also in Phoenixville. Police have been in contact with them.
Authorities say after Cavalcante murdered his ex-girlfriend, his family helped him flee. Investigators are warning his family members they too will be prosecuted if they are helping him.
Concerns over prison alert
Residents say the notification system has to be improved. They received a ChescoAlert to their cellphones at 12:15 p.m.
“At 12:06 p.m. we got text messages and alerts, why didn’t they do that at 9 o’clock?” asked Randy Mims of Pocopson Township.
With the busy holiday weekend in full swing, officials are advising the public to not be scared but vigilant.
“Check your stuff, check your neighbor’s stuff,” said Robert Clark, the supervisor deputy marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.