WEST CHESTER, PA (FWRD AXIS) – A convicted murderer, who brutally attacked his ex-girlfriend in the presence of her children, managed to escape from Chester County prison on Thursday, just a few days after receiving a life sentence.
Danelo Cavalcante, a 34-year-old individual, made his exit from Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township. This information was conveyed through a message sent by the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, acting on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, utilizing the Ready Chesco system.
The authorities first became aware of his absence at approximately 8:50 a.m., as reported by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
An ‘extremely dangerous’ fugitive is now at large, as stated in the Ready Chesco alert distributed to residents within a 6-mile radius of the prison. It emphasized, “He is convicted of homicide and presumed extremely dangerous.”
The Chester County Detectives and the Pennsylvania State Police have initiated a comprehensive county-wide search, while prison officials are concurrently conducting an internal investigation, according to the DA’s office.
Cavalcante, originally from Brazil, possesses fluency in Portuguese and Spanish and has a limited command of English. He stands approximately 5 feet tall and weighs around 120 pounds. At the time of his escape, he was wearing a white T-shirt, gray shorts, and white sneakers, as corroborated by officials. A photograph released by the DA’s office provides a visual reference of his appearance during his escape.
According to court records, he was recently convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in April 2021, in front of her children. He received a life sentence without the possibility of parole just last week.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan reassured the public that law enforcement had been in contact with the children and had ensured their safety.
The manhunt for Cavalcante continued into Friday, with the circumstances of his escape still shrouded in mystery, as authorities had yet to reveal how he managed to elude custody.
His last known whereabouts were in the vicinity of Wawaset Road, as disclosed by Ryan on Thursday.
“Danelo Cavalcante is considered an extremely dangerous individual,” emphasized Ryan. “We are appealing to the public for assistance in locating him. His last sighting was walking on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township around 9:40 a.m. The defendant is also wanted for a 2017 murder in Brazil.”
Acting prison warden Howard Holland declined to disclose specifics regarding the escape during a news conference on Thursday afternoon. However, he did confirm that immediate security protocols were activated, leading to a lockdown of the prison upon learning of the escape.
Ryan added that part of the search efforts included reaching out to Cavalcante’s local family members, urging them to promptly notify authorities if he were to contact them.
Despite the extensive search operations conducted on Thursday, the manhunt extended into a second day on Friday.
“The search for prison escapee Danelo Cavalcante continues with detectives and hundreds of police officers utilizing all available resources, including search helicopters and K-9 units,” stated the DA’s office on Friday morning. “We are diligently pursuing every lead.”
State police, on Thursday, assured the public that they were doing everything within their power to capture Cavalcante. On Friday, they implored residents to assist by inspecting their video surveillance systems, including video doorbells, surveillance cameras, and trail cameras, for any potential signs of Cavalcante.
Additionally, they encouraged residents in the area to check their properties, including barns, sheds, and vehicles, for any indications that Cavalcante may have sought refuge there.
In a bid to facilitate his capture, a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Danelo Cavalcante’s apprehension. This reward consists of contributions from both the county commissioners and U.S. Marshals, with each entity providing $5,000 toward the reward fund.
An attorney who previously represented Cavalcante in his murder trial has yet to respond to requests for comment from Fwrd Axis News.
Authorities initially urged anyone who spotted the escaped convict to immediately dial 911.
Ryan emphasized, “Law enforcement is diligently working to locate him. If you encounter this individual, please do not approach him. Instead, call 911 immediately.”
Furthermore, by Friday morning, the DA’s office had provided additional contact numbers for tipsters:
“If anyone knows or sees anything that they suspect may involve this man, please call 9-1-1 or the U.S. Marshal tipline at 1-877-WANTED2 (1-877-926-8332) immediately,” urged the DA’s office.
It was underscored that tipsters could potentially receive compensation.
A substantial reward of $10,000, consisting of contributions from both the county commissioners and U.S. Marshals, is available “for any information that leads to the capture of Cavalcante,” as confirmed by the DA’s office.