A frantic and expansive manhunt is currently underway for a prisoner who eluded capture in Pennsylvania after a daring escape from Chester County Prison situated 30 miles west of Philadelphia. The man is none other than Danelo Souza Cavalcante, previously convicted for the savage murder of his ex-girlfriend.
Convicted only a month prior, the 34-year-old Cavalcante is now the focus of a comprehensive search involving hundreds of officers. Cavalcante is believed to have made his dramatic escape by scaling the walls to the roof before making his daring getaway.
Chester County, which was a few miles south of the originally projected perimeter of his escape, came under scrutiny after sightings of Cavalcante were captured on trail camera footage. This caused authorities to expand their search effort and forced two school districts to halt classes.
Hailing originally from Brazil, Cavalcante is described as a compact fiugure standing roughly 5 feet tall, sporting long, curly black hair and brown eyes. Authorities consider him to be incredibly dangerous and desperate, prompting them to warn residents near the prison to remain indoors, keep their doors locked, and maintain frequent checks on their security systems.
Love turned sour between Cavalcante and Deborah Brandão, his ex-girlfriend and mother of two, resulting in a gruesome end in April 2021. On that fateful day, Cavalcante mercilessly assaulted Brandão in front of her two children, stabbing her 38 times, causing fatal injuries to virtually every vital organ, leading to her death from heavy blood loss.
Following his atrocious act, Cavalcante dodged capture by authorities, making a hasty retreat while Brandão’s terrified children ran for help. He was later caught, though, attempting to cross state-lines into Virginia in what was projected as an escape plan to Mexico before finally retreating back to Brazil.
By the time local police forces subsequently arrived at the scene, Brandão had already succumbed to her lethal stab wounds. Despite life-saving efforts from neighbors and healthcare professionals, she was declared dead on arrival.
Brandão’s daughter’s eyewitness account was crucial to the case against Cavalcante, retelling hauntingly how Cavalcante had vowed to wreak havoc in their lives before pulling out two knives from a black bag he carried on his back.
District Attorney Deb Ryan expressed her grief and anger over the shocking murder, referring to it as a “senseless tragedy”. It leaves behind Brandão’s motherless children, who are now bereft of the chance to create memories with their mother.
Cavalcante’s trial saw him convicted on charges of first-degree murder and possession of crime weapons on August 16, 2023, earning him a life sentence without parole. His attorneys made vain attempts to justify his actions citing provocation and impassioned response as causal factors.
Since Cavalcante’s escape from prison instigated a statewide search, new evidence including surveillance footage and several credible sightings have further underlined his potential to pose a risk to public safety. Emergency measures have included vigilant neighbourhood patrols and careful monitoring of suspicious activity. Locals have been advised to lock their vehicles and homes, signaling unprecedented vigilance in an attempt to bring the dangerous fugitive back into custody. But for now, the chase continues.