A tower guard from a penitentiary was dismissed following a startling daylight escape of a murderer under his watch. The urgent pursuit for the fugitive persists in the southeastern suburbs of Philadelphia, across pastoral fields, and into the expansive Longwood Gardens.
The manhunt intensifies around Longwood Gardens, a location where the escaped inmate has previously been sighted. The correctional force is expanding as more personnel join in the search.
The fugitive, Danelo Souza Cavalcante, a 34-year-old native of Brazil, vanished while waiting for his transfer to state prison. He was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment after brutally murdering his former girlfriend in 2021. Cavalcante intended to prevent her from exposing his involvement in another killing in Brazil, officials claimed.
Cavalcante is classified by the authorities as extremely dangerous. With the operation entering the second week, local residents stay vigilant, conscious of any indication of his presence. Cavalcante has reportedly been seen nine times following his escape and seems to have obtained clothing and other essential supplies.
The prison guard in Chester County was fired after faithfully serving 18-years as a correctional officer. On the day of the escape, he was stationed at the watchtower while Cavalcante managed to scale a wall, climbed over razor wire, traipsed across a rooftop, and made his descent to the ground.
The breach went unnoticed for over an hour until a headcount revealed the discrepancy. Besides, the guard violated prison protocols by possessing his personal cellphone on duty. Specific reasons behind the guard’s dismissal or more details about his distractions during the escape remain unknown.
County authorities maintain that the watchtower guard should have detected Cavalcante’s escape attempt. However, they have not given any clear explanation of why he failed to do so or if distraction caused by his cellphone was a factor.
Cavalcante has managed to steer clear of numerous law enforcement officers, tracking dogs, fully-equipped tactical teams, mounted police, and helicopters across Southwestern Philadelphia.
As the search escalated, Friday saw the largest team yet of around 400 officers. Longwood Gardens, covering nearly 200 acres, closed indefinitely after another reported sighting of Cavalcante. Those who were on the premises were prompted to remain in place during an officers’ sweep of the area.
State police are currently investigating a possible sighting of Cavalcante within the vast botanical garden on Thursday evening, the details of which have not been disclosed. Earlier on, he was reportedly seen in another section of the garden. His appearance at the garden was visually confirmed by surveillance footage captured on Monday evening.
Officials have announced a $20,000 reward for any information that could facilitate Cavalcante’s capture. The escape and the consequential manhunt have garnered international awareness and have particularly resonated in Brazil. This alarming hide-and-seek saga was prominently featured in Rio de Janeiro’s central newspaper on Wednesday.