(CHESTER COUNTY, Pa.) — Authorities believe a convicted murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison may be attempting to return to his native Brazil, as the search for the inmate resumes for a second day.
Danelo Cavalcante, 34, escaped from the Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township Thursday morning, officials said. He was recently convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole for fatally stabbing his former girlfriend in 2021.
He was set to be transferred to a state correctional institution in four weeks before he escaped, according to Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan.
Ryan told reporters on Friday that authorities believe he may still be in the general area, though ultimately may be “heading south,” citing past behavior. After fleeing the 2021 stabbing in Chester County, he was assisted by family and friends until his capture in Virginia a day later, she said.
“We have evidence to suggest that he was captured in Virginia but the ultimate goal was to go to Mexico and then to Brazil, which is his native country,” Ryan said.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark said they have reached out to the Brazilian attaché to inform them that Cavalcante has escaped custody. There is an active homicide warrant for his arrest out of Brazil relating to a 2017 murder, according to Clark, who said Cavalcante fled from Brazil to Puerto Rico and entered the U.S. illegally.
There is currently no evidence Cavalcante is getting any help from family or friends to evade capture following his escape from prison, the district attorney said.
— Chester County District Attorney’s Office (@chescoda) August 31, 2023
Hundreds of police officers are assisting in the manhunt from agencies including Chester County detectives, Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service. Canine units, drones and helicopters are also being deployed in the search.
Chester County Commissioners and the U.S. Marshals are offering a combined $10,000 reward in the case.
Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Robert Wagner urged residents to report anything suspicious while also warning that the escapee is considered “very dangerous.”
“We need your help. Please check your cars in your outbuildings for any signs of criminal activity,” Wagner said during Friday’s briefing. “We ask that you also check your home video cameras. If you see any footage on there that’s suspicious, please report it to us.”
How Cavalcante escaped from the prison remains under investigation, Ryan said. He was last seen on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township around 9:40 a.m. Thursday wearing a white T-shirt, gray shorts and white sneakers, her office said.
He was described as being 5 foot, 120 pounds with black curly hair and brown eyes. He is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and speaks some English.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911 and to not approach if they see him.
“I think people need to be on high alert. This person is dangerous. He has killed someone, he is alleged to have killed another person,” Ryan said. “So people need to take every precaution possible. Lock your doors, keep your eyes on your kids and keep your eyes on your neighbors and your friends.”
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