The escaped convict Danilo Cavalcante, who had been on the run for nearly two weeks after fleeing a Pennsylvania prison, has been successfully taken into custody, according to an announcement by Pennsylvania State Police.
This development marks the conclusion of an extensive manhunt that had mobilized a significant number of law enforcement personnel to the area and had left the local community in a state of apprehension.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan expressed relief, stating “Our nightmare is finally over.”
The apprehension of Danilo Cavalcante unfolded dramatically on Wednesday morning, around 8 a.m., in Chester County. This operation involved a coordinated effort that utilized an aircraft, coincided with a lightning storm, featured the involvement of a police dog, and saw the participation of more than 20 tactical officers. These collective efforts and resources were instrumental in the successful capture of the fugitive, demonstrating the unwavering commitment of law enforcement authorities to ensuring the safety and security of the community.
In the early hours of Wednesday, at approximately 1 a.m., an aircraft conducting surveillance over the search area detected a heat signal emanating from the ground, as revealed by Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens during a news conference. However, a sudden storm with lightning compelled the aircraft to depart the scene temporarily. Undeterred, a tactical team comprising 20 to 25 officers promptly secured the vicinity and patiently waited for the storm to pass, with the goal of resuming their operation at daybreak.
It was during this morning operation that Danilo Cavalcante was discovered, still in slumber, lying atop a rifle he had stolen from a nearby resident late on Monday night. The law enforcement officers executed a surprise approach, catching Danilo Cavalcante off guard. In a bid to evade capture, he attempted to escape by maneuvering through dense underbrush, clutching the pilfered rifle. It was at this point that a police canine was deployed and, by biting Cavalcante, effectively prevented him from employing the weapon. Subsequently, law enforcement succeeded in taking him into custody.
Lt. Col. Bivens characterized Cavalcante as “defiant and still resisting arrest,” and noted that the police dog’s intervention had resulted in a scalp wound for the fugitive. It was a tense and challenging operation, further emphasizing the determination and commitment of the law enforcement team in ensuring the successful apprehension of the escaped convict.
The capture of Danilo Cavalcante, who had been on the run for nearly two weeks after escaping from a Pennsylvania prison, marked the end of a high-stakes manhunt that had law enforcement officials and residents on edge. The dramatic sequence of events leading to his capture unfolded in the early morning hours of Wednesday.
Around 1 a.m., an aircraft conducting surveillance in the search area detected a heat signal on the ground. Unfortunately, a sudden lightning storm forced the aircraft to temporarily withdraw. Nonetheless, a tactical team comprising 20 to 25 officers promptly secured the area and patiently awaited the storm’s passage, determined to resume their operation at daybreak.
When officers finally located Danilo Cavalcante, he was asleep, sprawled over a rifle he had stolen from a nearby resident just two nights prior. This discovery caught Cavalcante by surprise, and he attempted to evade capture by crawling through dense underbrush, clutching the stolen firearm. However, a police canine was swiftly deployed and, by biting Cavalcante, prevented him from using the weapon. Subsequently, law enforcement successfully took him into custody.
Cavalcante was found with blood on his face, wearing dark pants, and a Philadelphia Eagles hoodie, which was removed before he was placed in the vehicle. A group of officers posed for a photo with the fugitive and the confiscated rifle.
Fortunately, no one else was injured during the capture operation, and law enforcement officials expressed relief that both the community and their fellow officers remained unharmed throughout the ordeal.
During his nearly two weeks on the run, Cavalcante lived a desperate existence, relying in part on a watermelon he scavenged from a farm and drinking from streams. According to Robert Clark, supervisory deputy US marshal for Pennsylvania’s eastern district, Cavalcante was actively avoiding apprehension, initially hiding out in a secluded and heavily wooded area for several days. He also disclosed to law enforcement that he had intended to carjack someone by Thursday and drive to Canada to continue evading authorities.
This manhunt began when Danilo Cavalcante, 34, made a daring escape from Chester County Prison on August 31. Surveillance video captured his audacious move as he scaled a fence and crawled onto the roof, slipping through razor wire to flee the facility.
Cavalcante had been convicted just a month prior for the first-degree murder of his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandão, and had received a life sentence. Prosecutors revealed that he had brutally stabbed Brandão 38 times in front of her two young children in Pennsylvania in April 2021. Following the murder, he was arrested in Virginia, attempting to flee to Mexico and ultimately to Brazil, his native country.
Moreover, Danilo Cavalcante is also wanted in connection with a 2017 homicide case in Brazil, according to a US Marshals Service official.
In light of Cavalcante’s capture, the sister of Deborah Brandão, Sarah Brandão, expressed gratitude for the support and hard work of law enforcement officials. She described the past two weeks as extremely painful and terrifying, echoing the emotional toll it took on her family.
This dramatic escape and the ensuing manhunt deeply affected the residents of South Coventry Township, with approximately 2,600 residents. An extensive law enforcement presence, including the Pennsylvania State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, and US Marshals, established a perimeter in the wooded area.
During his time on the run, Danilo Cavalcante was observed inside homes, managed to evade police search perimeters, stole a van, changed his appearance, approached individuals he knew from years ago, and even stole a firearm. Remarkably, he claimed that law enforcement officials had come dangerously close to discovering him on three separate occasions, nearly stepping on him or coming within yards of his location. This underlines the dense foliage and challenging terrain that made the search operation arduous and intense, especially given the extreme heat and environmental conditions.
As the community breathed a sigh of relief, Catherine Evans, a resident near the capture area, shared her shock at how close Danilo Cavalcante had been. Locking her doors and keeping a watchful eye on her surroundings, she had been on high alert throughout the manhunt. With Danilo Cavalcante’s capture, she and her fellow residents finally looked forward to returning to a sense of normalcy.