Authorities in Pennsylvania have launched a manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante, 34, who escaped from prison late last month. Image courtesy of Chester County District Attorney/Facebook
Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania State Police said Monday that they have taken over the search for an inmate who escaped from prison late last month and have zeroed in on a wooded area of Chester County where they believe he may be hiding.
Lt. Col. George Bevins of the Pennsylvania State Police told reporters during a press conference Monday that they are actively searching a roughly 2-mile area of the county, which is located west of Philadelphia, for Danelo Cavalcante.
Cavalcante, a 34-year-old Brazilian national, was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 16 for fatally stabbing his 33-year-old former girlfriend and was sentenced to life imprisonment, but he escaped from the Chester County Prison in West Chester, Pa., on Aug. 31.
Authorities have since launched a manhunt for Cavalcante, who was in the United States illegally and is also wanted for murder in Brazil.
Since his escape, police have received four credible sightings of Cavalcante in the 2-mile region, with the most recent occurring Sunday, Bevins said, explaining a trooper had seen him at a distance and gave chase but failed to apprehend the suspect before Cavalcante disappeared.
Bevins said they have recruited the assistance of his mother whose recorded plea for her son to peacefully turn himself in to police was being broadcast by loudspeakers in the designated search area.
"We have secured that area and continue to actively search it. While there are a number of challenges, we are confident that if he is in there we will find him," he said.
The authorities are asking the public to familiarize themselves with Cavalcante's description and for residents within the search area who may have gone away for the weekend to report if anything in their homes seemed out of place.
Bevins explained that they are investigating two burglaries of interest, though he could not confirm if Cavalcante was responsible as evidence was still being analyzed.
"He is going to be looking for a means to sustain himself. He's going to need clothing. He's going to need food. And just to get out of the weather. It's pretty hot out there," he said.
"You have to keep in mind right, he's stressed right now," he said. "You're going to be desperate and that's the situation he's in. ... One of our practices in how we conduct these type of investigations and manhunts is that we'll continue to push him hard. I intend to stress him. I want to push him hard. he'll make mistakes. He'll show himself."
He said if Cavalcante does not actively surrender himself to police, they have been authorized to use deadly force.
The cause of the prison break remains under investigation, with authorities stating the priority is focused on capturing Cavalcante.