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Escaped murderer captured in Pennsylvania after nearly 2-week manhunt

Escaped convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante was captured early Wednesday, about 36 hours after police said he stole a rifle from a residence.
Escaped murderer captured in Pennsylvania after nearly 2-week manhunt
Posted at 8:46 AM, Sep 13, 2023

Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison nearly two weeks ago, is now in custody, Pennsylvania State Police said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said Cavalcante was captured around 8 a.m. Wednesday in a wooded area in Chester County. He added that he Cavalcante arrested without incident. Authorities said Cavalcante did experience a wound from a police K-9 during the arrest.

"I want to say thank you to the dedicated law enforcement professionals from every level who each and every day go out of their homes, leave their families, leave their loved ones to keep us safe," Shapiro said. "The public over the last 13 days has had a chance to see what excellence in law enforcement means."

Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Cavalcante tried to crawl away when he realized he was surrounded. Bivens added that he did not "have an opportunity" to shoot at officers when they arrived. 

Bivens said that an Drug Enforcement Agency aircraft had to land overnight due to storms shortly after picking up a heat signal around 1 a.m. in a wooded area. 

"Tactical teams made a decision to secure that smaller area as best they could and hold it through the storm and until we could bring additional resources in and bring aircraft back overhead to ensure that we did not have an issue with an escape that resumed early this morning," Bivens said. "And shortly after 8 a.m., tactical teams converged on the area where the heat source was. They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise."

Despite the amount of time spent to find Cavalcante, Bivens called the police response a success. 

He added that it is unknown how Cavalcante kept himself alive for the duration of the manhunt.

Authorities said they hope to question Cavalcante. Bivens added that additional charges related to the manhunt could soon be filed. 

SEE MORE: Timeline: How murderer Danelo Cavalcante escaped prison and police

Police said Cavalcante broke into a home Monday evening in South Coventry Township and stole a rifle. Authorities added that shots were fired during the incident.

Cavalcante's escape from the Chester County Prison on Aug. 31 came two weeks after he was convicted of first-degree murder over the 2021 killing of his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandão.

Bivens said on Tuesday authorities established a "strong" perimeter of 8-10 square miles as Cavalcante was considered "armed and dangerous." He also left his clothes and shoes behind, police said.

The end of the manhunt should allow a community that had been on edge for weeks some sense of normalcy. Several school districts had closed during the two-week period. 

The U.S. Marshals Service said Cavalcante is also wanted in his home country of Brazil over a 2017 homicide case.

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