Manhunt for killer fugitive Danelo Cavalcante expands as he slips out of Pennsylvania search perimeter, steals a van, changes appearance and tries to contact former co-workers
- Convicted killer Cavalcante escaped from Chester County Jail on August 31
- He was spotted outside the search area, at acquaintance’s homes, on Saturday
- Police will now focus on the area where a van the killer stoke was found
The manhunt for fugitive murderer Danelo Cavalcante has expanded after he was spotted at the homes of former co-workers – more than 20 miles outside the previously designated search area, officials said.
The search for Cavalcante entered a 12th day on Monday, following several sightings over the weekend and the discovery of a van he had stolen and dumped outside the area hundreds of officers had been searching.
The 34-year-old was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and escaped the Chester County Jail on August 31.
Police had focused their search in the nearby perimeter. But on Saturday, a clean-shaven Cavalcante was seen outside a former colleague’s home through a ring doorbell camera in East Pikeland Township, before he was spotted outside a different ex co-worker’s home in nearby Phoenixville.
The homes are both outside the perimeter where police initially focused, leading to questions about how Cavalcante slipped by hundreds of officers patrolling the area.
On Sunday, police found a 2020 Ford Transit van Cavalcante had stolen in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township – which is outside the previous search area. Cavalcante had taken it from the West Chester based Baily’s Dairy, near the prison.
‘We are obviously very concerned that Cavalcante has or will attempt to steal another vehicle to facilitate his escape,” said chief Bivens said. ‘This most recent incident is a reminder that he will take advantage of any opportunity to obtain items he needs.’
Cavalcante, who is from Brazil, was seen on surveillance camera in the outdoor area looking at the camera before ‘crab walking’ between two walls, scaling a fence and jumping over razor wire during the daring break out that took place in broad daylight from the Chester County Jail on August 31.
Before this weekend, there were repeated sightings of the ‘extremely dangerous’ killer in the 759 square mile search area around the prison.
On Saturday, Cavalcante was seen wearing a black baseball-style hat, a green hooded sweatshirt, green prison pants and white shoes as he appeared to smirk at the doorbell camera at his former colleague’s home.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania prison guard who did not see or report the escape was fired. Prison officials told CNN, the corrections officer was an 18-year veteran of the prison.
Hundreds of officers have been deployed and are involved in the massive manhunt as the search for the fugitive intensifies.
Choppers, drones and dogs are being executed during the ground and aerial searches as the authorities face extreme heat, high humidity and difficult landscape.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said on Friday they ‘pulled more people in through the night, last night, some additional help from other agencies, from our own agency.’
‘We have got somewhere north of 350, close to 400 people working on this today as we speak.’
Cops have warned local residents that Cavalcante is extremely dangerous and urged them to lock their doors. Authorities have now raised the reward for information to $20,000.
Several schools shuttered and terrified residents stayed barricaded in their homes.
The first sighting of Cavalcante came when he was spotted at 1.43am on September 2 on the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pocopson Township about 1.5 miles away from the Chester County Prison.
He was then later seen on surveillance video in the early hours of September 2 wearing a white T-shirt and white sneakers with a backpack he had mysteriously obtained.
The criminal was later reported to have been seen again that night in the same area by a resident of Pocopson Township inside his home at 11.45 PM on Friday. He ‘flicked the lights’ at the owner before stealing some food items and then left.
A trail camera recorded Cavalcante hiking through the woods twice within an hour late on Monday September 4.
On Tuesday September 5 at night there was another confirmed sighting of Cavalcante near Chandler Road in the Pennsbury area by a resident who saw the prisoner in the creek bed near their house.
The escaped prisoner was then spotted near Longwood Gardens on September 7 at around noon near Longwood Gardens. He was seen running in a wooded area by a resident and Longwood Gardens was closed early as law enforcement officials searched for Cavalcante.
Police confirmed a further sighting of the criminal on Thursday September 7 in the evening but did not provide details.
There may have been a ninth sighting of the escaped prisoner on the morning of Friday September 8 in relation to the burglary of a house in Kennett Square.
Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 homicide case in his native country of Brazil. Authorities believe he was trying to flee to Mexico to return to Brazil after being captured in Virginia for the killing of Brandão.
Police have broadcast recordings of the prisoner’s mother speaking in Portuguese from helicopters flying over the search area to facilitate his peaceful surrender. They have previously warned the fugitive may attempt to flee to Brazil.