After a two-week-long manhunt, authorities have successfully captured Danelo Cavalcante, a convicted murderer who escaped from Chester County Prison in Pennsylvania. Cavalcante, 34, had been on the run since August 31st, but his flight from justice came to an end when a law enforcement K-9 unit, aided by a heat-sensing aircraft, located him in a wooded area.
Cavalcante, who had been sentenced to life in prison for the 2021 murder of his ex-girlfriend in front of her two children, managed to escape the prison just a week after his sentencing. He accomplished this feat by squeezing between two walls and scaling a razor-wire fence.
The manhunt involved more than 500 officers and kept residents of Chester County on edge, with police advising them to secure their homes and stay indoors due to earlier sightings of the fugitive.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro commended the efforts of law enforcement and the public for Cavalcante’s capture, emphasizing that no shots were fired during the arrest.
The capture operation began when a Drug Enforcement Administration plane detected a heat signal on the ground, leading a tactical team to close in on the location. Cavalcante was pinpointed several hours later, attempting to crawl through thick underbrush with a stolen rifle in hand.
A key part of the tactical team was a US Customs and Border Protection unit from Texas, including a four-year-old Belgian Malinois named Yoda. Yoda subdued Cavalcante, resulting in a minor bite wound, and Cavalcante was eventually taken into custody.
Cavalcante, who sustained a scalp wound, will undergo a medical assessment before being transferred to a prison facility. He is expected to face charges for his escape.
The capture has brought relief to the community and family members of Cavalcante’s victims, as well as to his native Brazil, where his escape and subsequent arrest have made headlines. Silvia Brandão, the sister of Cavalcante’s ex-girlfriend, expressed her relief, stating, “We were very afraid because you know what he is capable of.”
In addition to his conviction for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Cavalcante is also accused of another murder in Brazil in 2017, where he allegedly killed a young friend over an unpaid debt.