Police capture fugitive killer Danelo Cavalcante in Pennsylvania

Escaped convict and convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday near Kennett Square, Pa., after a 14-day manhunt. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania State Police/UPI
1 of 2 | Escaped convict and convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday near Kennett Square, Pa., after a 14-day manhunt. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania State Police/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday morning with the help of a police canine near Kennett Square, Pa., after a 14-day manhunt that frightened residents and closed schools while he was on the run.

Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bevins said in a news conference that Cavalcante's capture came about eight hours after authorities were tipped off to a burglar alarm about midnight in the targeted search area of Chester County.


While police responding to the scene did not find anyone who set off the alarm, a Drug Enforcement Agency helicopter with thermal imaging picked up a heat signal nearby.

The aircraft, though, shortly had to leave the area because of thunderstorms rolling through. Bevins said authorities, which included members of the state police and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, encircled the area until weather improved near dawn.


Bevins said that about 8 a.m., the team closed in on the area of the original heat signal. Cavalcante eventually picked up authorities closing in and attempted to crawl away in high brush. The police canine was deployed, which confronted and held him in place until officers arrived.

"They were able to move it very quietly," Bevins said. "They had the element of surprise. Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that occurred. That did not stop him from trying to escape. He tried to crawl through thick underbrush."

Bevin said Cavalcante continued to resist but was quickly brought under control without anyone being injured. Cavalcante suffered a minor dog bite wound. Authorities also recovered a weapon they believe he took from a residence earlier this week.

Cavalcante was to be interviewed and transferred to a state prison instead of returning to the Chester County Jail, where he escaped.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro praised the work of law enforcement in finding Cavalcante and rejected criticism over the amount of time it took to track him down.

Bevins said the public supported the search by quickly reporting sightings of Cavalcante, which helped them constantly adjust their target search areas.

"I hope the good people of Pennsylvania and folks all across this nation got a chance to see how government is supposed to work -- how law enforcement is supposed to work, where we all come together and focus on the mission," Shapiro said. "We were here with a common purpose, to apprehend the suspect and keep people safe."


Bevin said Cavalcante looked tired and stressed, which was the goal of the search teams, to keep him moving to a point where he would make a mistake and allow authorities to catch him with less resistance. Authorities believe he traveled mostly at night along creeks and wood lines because those were easier to travel.

The capture ended the two-week manhunt during which Cavalcante managed to stay one step ahead of authorities.

He is in the country illegally and was convicted in August in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend in 2021. He is also wanted as a suspect for a murder in Brazil.

The pressure to capture Cavalcante increased Monday night when a resident within the targeted area said Cavalcante stole his .22-caliber rifle after entering his garage. The resident said he fired shots at the escapee, but missed.

Bevins said he will talk with the Chester County District Attorney's office to see what additional charges Cavalcante will face for his escape and whether anyone else will be charged. He said Cavalcante's sister, who was interviewed after his escape, will likely face deportation. He declined to comment on whether anyone assisted Cavalcante.

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