Danelo Cavalcante, a convicted murderer who had escaped from a U.S. jail two weeks ago, was apprehended with the assistance of a law enforcement dog and heat-sensing aircraft. The 34-year-old fugitive was captured in a wooded area in Pennsylvania as he attempted to evade officers who had encircled him.
Cavalcante’s daring escape involved scaling a razor-wire fence at Chester County Prison, leading to a two-week manhunt that involved over 500 officers. Just a week before his escape, he had been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2021, a crime committed in front of her children.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro praised the successful capture during a news conference, emphasizing the efforts of law enforcement and public support.
The extensive search operation featured mounted patrols, canine units, and aircraft scanning South Coventry Township’s woods. A heat signal detected by a Drug Enforcement Administration plane led officers to Cavalcante’s location. Despite resisting arrest and attempting to flee with a stolen rifle, he was subdued by a police dog named Yoda and taken into custody.
Cavalcante, who sustained a scalp wound during his capture, will undergo a medical assessment before being transferred to a prison facility. He will also face a felony escape charge.
The escape exposed security vulnerabilities at the prison, as Cavalcante’s method mirrored that of another inmate who escaped earlier in the year. During his time on the run, Cavalcante attempted to contact acquaintances and stole a firearm from an open garage. The family of his murder victim remained under police protection during the manhunt.
Cavalcante’s escape and subsequent arrest garnered international attention, particularly in his native Brazil, where social media users celebrated his capture. Silvia Brandão, the sister of the murder victim, expressed relief and acknowledged concerns about potential revenge from Cavalcante. In addition to the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Cavalcante faces accusations of killing a young friend in Brazil in 2017 over an unpaid debt.