‘There might be someone downstairs’: Manhunt underway for illegal Brazilian murderer who escaped Penn. prison

In Pennsylvania, the manhunt for a convicted murderer who escaped prison stretched past five days with at least one individual reporting the fugitive had been in his home.

(Video: WPVI)

Since his escape from the Chester County Prison Thursday morning, 34-year-old, Brazilian-born Danelo Cavalcante has been on the lam in southeastern Pennsylvania and is in the U.S. illegally, according to Fox News. As of Tuesday, “out of an abundance of caution,” two school districts had closed as the man sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend in front of her children remained on the loose.

“It’s important we keep pressure on him as we continue this hunt,” said Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens during a press conference.

On social media, the PA State Police provided an update shortly after 9. a.m. Eastern noting that the fugitive had been spotted at least six times and that locals should report anything out of the ordinary.

“The search in Chester Co. for escapee Danelo Cavalcante continues this morning. These photos of him were captured on a trail-cam on the property of Longwood Gardens last night,” the post on X stated with three images taken in the dark. “We’re asking the public to call 911 if he’s spotted or to report any suspicious activity right away.”

Nearby, WPVI indicated that Kennett Consolidated School District had closed and issued a statement that read, “We were informed early this morning by law enforcement that the search situation has evolved and out of an abundance of caution, schools and offices will be closed today.”

Likewise, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District opted for a Flexible Instructional Day and reported, “The district has received information that the status of the situation with the escaped prisoner has changed. Schools and offices are closed today and the district will operate on a Flexible Instructional Day.”

Meanwhile, on Friday night, homeowner Ryan Drummond told WPVI that he had awoken to discover that Cavalcante had been inside his home. The father and husband explained, “I woke up my wife and said, ‘I think there might be someone downstairs.'”

“What I decided to do was flip the switch three or four or five times, paused, and then he flipped a light switch from downstairs,” the man recounted. “This was the moment of, ‘Oh my God, this guy is down there.'”

“I saw him walk out of the kitchen through our living room, open up that door, [and] walked out,” Drummond said after he had checked on the safety of his children. “He was wearing a white shirt, had a bag.”

The homeowner detailed that the fugitive had likely taken some food as he accounted for missing, “Peaches, apples, green snap peas…We have a bunch of little steak knives and he could have taken one of those.”

As part of the search effort, authorities reported that a recording of Cavalcante’s mother had been broadcast from a helicopter traveling above the search area in what Bivens called “an effort to facilitate his peaceful surrender.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) had urged the people in “Pocopson Township and surrounding areas to stay alert,” and District Attorney Deb Ryan had stated at a press conference, “Lock your doors, lock your cars. He is still considered an extremely dangerous individual. There is evidence to suggest that he’s still in that local residence. We do not believe he has gotten more than one to two miles away from the prison.”

Cavalcante was detailed as five feet tall and approximately 120 pounds and the U.S. Marshals in combination with Chester County were offering a $10,000 reward for assistance in the arrest of the fugitive.

Kevin Haggerty


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