Pennsylvania Schools Shut Down in Search for Escaped Killer

14:57 05.09.2023

In a tense and ongoing manhunt, two school districts in Pennsylvania were forced to cancel classes on Tuesday as law enforcement officials searched for convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante. Cavalcante, a 34-year-old Brazilian national, had escaped from the Chester County Prison near Philadelphia last week, just days after being convicted of first-degree murder for the brutal killing of his former girlfriend. Authorities revealed that Cavalcante had stabbed the victim 38 times in front of her two children.

The search for Cavalcante intensified on Tuesday after multiple sightings of the fugitive were reported near residential areas in Pocopson Township, just a few miles from the prison. To alert residents and aid in the capture of Cavalcante, a reverse 911 call was made to those within a three-mile radius early in the morning. Police cars and helicopters played a recorded message from Cavalcante's mother, urging him to surrender peacefully in his native Portuguese.

At a news conference, Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police provided details of the sightings, noting that a trail camera had captured an image of a man believed to be Cavalcante walking on a property at Longwood Gardens, less than three miles south of the prison. Bivens also revealed that Cavalcante had acquired a backpack, a duffel sling-type pack, and a hooded sweatshirt.

The Chester County district attorney's office disclosed that a residential surveillance camera had captured footage of Cavalcante near the prison on the same day he escaped. Additionally, authorities received a report of an attempted burglary in Pocopson Township, further fueling concerns that Cavalcante may be hiding in the heavily wooded area surrounding the prison, which is home to nearly 300 residences.

Due to the proximity of the sightings, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and the Kennett Consolidated School District both decided to close their campuses on Tuesday. Concerns for student safety prompted these precautionary measures. Local and federal authorities, including the U.S. Marshals Service, have announced a $10,000 reward for any information leading to Cavalcante's capture.

Colonel Bivens described Cavalcante as "a bad guy" who needs to be apprehended, emphasizing the determination of law enforcement to bring him to justice. The Chester County district attorney, Deborah Ryan, stated that Cavalcante appeared to be acting alone and confirmed that he is five feet tall and also speaks Spanish.

Cavalcante had been sentenced to life in prison on August 22nd, just days before his escape. Prior to the sentencing, a jury had found him guilty of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, whom he had threatened to kill after she discovered a warrant for his arrest in connection with a murder case in Brazil. Cavalcante had tried to flee to Brazil but was arrested by police in Virginia.

As the search continues, authorities are urging residents to avoid the wooded areas surrounding their homes. The thick terrain has proven challenging for searchers, with Bivens noting that the undergrowth is so dense that search teams often lose sight of one another. Cavalcante's appearance has not significantly changed, but he has acquired additional supplies, likely through breaking into homes or cars.

Law enforcement officials are actively reaching out to Cavalcante's family and friends in the hopes of gathering information that may aid in his capture. Meanwhile, residents in the vicinity of the prison are being reminded to secure their homes and vehicles to maintain pressure on Cavalcante. The manhunt remains ongoing, and updates are expected as the situation develops.

/ Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 2:57 PM /

themes:  Philadelphia  Pennsylvania  Virginia

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