US fugitive Danelo Cavalcante caught after two-week manhunt
PHILADELPHIA - Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who escaped prison in the US state of Pennsylvania on Aug 31, was caught and taken into custody by police on Wednesday, reported German news agency (dpa).
Cavalcante had been on the run for 14 days and disrupted life across Chester County, west of Philadelphia, and forced the closure of schools and businesses.
"The capture of Cavalcante ends the nightmare of the past two weeks,” Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said in a joint statement.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference that the path to the capture began when a burglar alarm at a residence went off Tuesday evening within the search perimeter. Officials picked up a heat signature around 1 am west of Route 100, and tactical teams converged, he said.
A thunderstorm forced a Drug Enforcement Administration fixed-wing plane that had been tracking Cavalcante to depart the area, so tactical teams secured that inner perimeter throughout the storm, Bivens said. On Wednesday morning around 8 am, the search resumed and took Cavalcante by surprise.
"Cavalcante did not realise he was surrounded,” Bivens said. "That did not stop him from trying to escape. He began to crawl through the thick underbrush, taking his rifle with him as he went.”
Bivens said a dog from a customs and border control team out of El Paso, Texas, was released and subdued Cavalcante, wounding him in the process. Police moved in, and Cavalcante continued to resist and was taken into custody. Bivens said it took about five minutes to take Cavalcante into custody.
Cavalcante has been taken to a Pennsylvania State Police station for processing, and from there will be sent to a state prison to begin to serve his life sentence, Bivens said.
Cavalcante was convicted last month of killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, outside of her home in Schuylkill Township in 2021. He was sentenced to life in state prison and was awaiting transfer to a more secure, state-run correctional facility when he escaped.
He is a native Brazilian who authorities say was in the United States illegally after a warrant was issued for his arrest for murder in his native country in 2017.
Cavalcante first travelled to Puerto Rico, where he obtained a fake ID, according to evidence presented during his trial. Cavalcante settled in Chester County, where he had a sister and friends who arrived ahead of him, he later told police.
Cavalcante worked for a while in construction and other trades, prosecutors said, and rented a storage trailer that he parked at a lot in East Pikeland Township. - BERNAMA-dpa