The manhunt for convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante, who escaped early Thursday from Chester County Prison, continued on Sunday, with hundreds of law enforcement officers fanning out in and around Pocopson Township, not far from the jail.
Authorities were optimistic Saturday that they were on the verge of capturing Cavalcante, 34, after spotting him on residential security camera footage in Pocopson, less than two miles from the prison, and receiving a report of a burglary nearby.
But Cavalcante continued to elude authorities four days after his escape.
Cavalcante was convicted in August of murder for stabbing his girlfriend to death in April 2021. He is also wanted for a 2017 murder in his native Brazil. Cavalcante, who has a sister and friends who live in Chester County, illegally immigrated to the United States using a fake ID he obtained in Puerto Rico, according to evidence presented at his murder trial.
Given his record, authorities have warned that Cavalcante should be considered dangerous and residents should be on high alert.
“As we’ve indicated, this is a person who has evaded law enforcement for years for a homicide in Brazil,” Chester County District Attorney Deborah Ryan said this weekend. “He’s escaped from a prison. He escaped the first time when he killed the woman in Schuylkill Township in 2021. So we’re asking people to just be mindful that he is dangerous and anything’s possible.”
The security footage that authorities believe showed Cavalcante in Pocopson was taken at 1:43 a.m. Saturday on the 1800 block of Lenape Road, or Route 52.
When he was last seen, Cavalcante, who is 5-foot and 120 pounds, had long, black curly hair and was wearing a light-colored prison-issued T-shirt and pants, white sneakers, and a backpack. Authorities said they were not sure where he got the backpack.
Authorities this weekend were focusing their search on a heavily wooded area with about 270 homes, knocking on doors and stopping cars traveling out of neighborhoods there.
Officers involved in the manhunt hail from local, state and federal agencies, including SWAT teams and the U.S. Marshals, which are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Cavalcante’s arrest.
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office asked anyone with knowledge of Cavalcante’s whereabouts to call 911, which had yielded more than 100 tips through Saturday.
The search has led to the closure of some public spaces. West Chester University canceled classes on Friday, and Longwood Gardens remained closed Sunday, an unfortunate restriction on a long holiday weekend. The public gardens are about a mile from where Cavalcante was last seen.
“As the search for the escaped prisoner from Chester County Prison continues, authorities have advised us to close the Gardens until further notice,” read a post on the Longwood Gardens website.