Fugitive Danelo Cavalcante Apprehended in Pennsylvania with the Assistance of Canines and Thermal Imaging Aircraft

by Joshua Brown
Fugitive Capture

A daring escapee, Danelo Souza Cavalcante, who had fled from a Pennsylvania correctional facility, was successfully apprehended on Wednesday in a wooded area by a team of highly trained tactical officers. This marked the conclusion of an extensive manhunt that had instilled fear among local residents. During his two-week escapade, the fugitive had broken into residences in search of sustenance, altered his appearance, and pilfered a van and a firearm.

A crucial breakthrough in law enforcement’s pursuit of Cavalcante occurred overnight when an aircraft equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera detected his heat signature. This technological advancement enabled ground teams to establish a secure perimeter, encircle him, and deploy search dogs effectively.

Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens, speaking at a press conference, emphasized, “They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise. Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred.”

Despite still being armed with the stolen rifle, the fugitive attempted to evade capture by maneuvering through thick underbrush. However, a search dog successfully subdued him, with Bivens noting that Cavalcante continued to resist until he was taken into custody after 8 a.m.

During the apprehension, Cavalcante sustained a minor wound to the scalp and had a dog latch onto his thigh, ultimately leading to his submission. Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark observed, “I think he was in pain at that point. He was probably in excruciating pain.” Aerial footage captured an officer tending to Cavalcante’s injuries.

Notably, the apprehension did not involve the discharge of firearms. Nevertheless, a group photo of approximately two dozen officers in tactical gear posing with Cavalcante drew criticism from advocates of policing reform and some members of the public, who found it inappropriate.

Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan expressed relief, stating, “Our nightmare is finally over, and the good guys won.”

Following his capture, Cavalcante was transported to a nearby state police barracks in an armored vehicle, accompanied by a convoy with flashing lights and blaring sirens. Two police helicopters closely monitored the convoy’s progress.

Residents in the vicinity witnessed the convoy’s passage, with some, like Kathleen Brady, expressing a sense of security returning to their community. Brady, who lived near the location where Cavalcante had stolen the firearm, described the atmosphere, saying, “The streets are quiet once again. There were no checkpoints. The sun is coming out. The heat has dropped. Poetic justice, and justice, all at the same time.”

Cavalcante faced an arraignment on an escape charge at the Avondale barracks, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for September 27. During his transfer, he appeared in shackles, with his hands and bare feet, clad in what appeared to be a hospital gown. Subsequently, he was taken to a state prison outside Philadelphia to continue serving the life sentence he had received last month for the murder of his former girlfriend.

Cavalcante’s saga unfolded in southeastern Pennsylvania, just beyond the heavily populated western suburbs of Philadelphia, in a region characterized by woods, farmland, and a county park. The extensive search effort involved the deployment of hundreds of law enforcement personnel, equipped with canines, armored vehicles, horses, and helicopters that circled overhead.

The prolonged search led to school closures at the onset of the academic year, advisories for homeowners to secure their residences, and road closures during the Labor Day weekend. Overnight, officers, heavily armed and undeterred by adverse weather conditions, persevered in their pursuit.

Although a Drug Enforcement Administration plane initially detected Cavalcante’s heat signature around 1 a.m., inclement weather temporarily grounded the aircraft, causing a delay in his apprehension, according to Bivens.

Cavalcante had staged his escape from the Chester County jail in southeastern Pennsylvania on August 31 by scaling the walls topped with razor wire and making a daring rooftop leap.

Throughout his time on the run, authorities revealed that Cavalcante had evaded capture by altering his appearance, stealing a vehicle to travel to the northern part of the county in search of assistance from former acquaintances, and subsequently abandoning the vehicle, partly due to a lack of fuel.

Officials declined to elaborate on how Cavalcante had initially eluded capture or respond to inquiries about whether they had missed an opportunity to apprehend him at that time.

On Monday night, a vigilant motorist alerted the police to a man matching Cavalcante’s description lurking in the darkness near a line of trees in northern Chester County. The discovery of footprints led to prison shoes identical to those the fugitive had been wearing, and a pair of work boots were reported stolen from a nearby porch.

State police believe that Cavalcante was searching for a hiding place when he stumbled upon an open garage. There, he stole a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition before fleeing when the homeowner, who was inside the garage, drew a pistol and fired multiple shots. These events prompted an extensive search effort spanning approximately 8 to 10 square miles near South Coventry Township, located roughly 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Cavalcante was captured just inside the search perimeter.

Governor Josh Shapiro, speaking at the press conference, remarked, “He was desperate, and it was just a matter of time.”

Law enforcement authorities disclosed that individuals had harbored intentions to assist Cavalcante during his time on the run but were thwarted in their efforts. However, they did not provide further details or announce any criminal charges in this regard.

Regarding Cavalcante’s sister, Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark indicated that she had provided evasive and conflicting information while her brother was at large, leading to her detention and potential deportation. It was suggested that she may have had the means to aid her brother if they had made contact.

Authorities clarified that there was no evidence to suggest that Cavalcante had acquired a cellphone or engaged in direct communication with friends or family who might have provided material support.

The escape and recapture of Danelo Cavalcante gained significant attention in Brazil, where he faces accusations of “double qualified homicide” in connection with the 2017 killing of Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reis. Authorities assert that the motive behind this crime was a vehicle-repair debt owed by the victim to Cavalcante.

Pennsylvania authorities even broadcasted a recording of Cavalcante’s mother speaking in Portuguese, urging him to surrender peacefully.

Cavalcante had been convicted of the murder of his former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in the presence of her children in 2021. Prosecutors alleged that he sought to prevent her from informing the police of his wanted status in the Brazilian homicide case. He was apprehended in Virginia, and authorities believe he was attempting to return to Brazil.

In light of Cavalcante’s escape, the guard on duty at the jail tower during the incident was dismissed. The escape remained undetected for over an hour until a headcount revealed the discrepancy.

Upon his capture, Cavalcante was found wearing a gray Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt, which he either found or stole. Aerial footage depicted an officer removing the sweatshirt as Cavalcante was placed into a police vehicle.

Governor Shapiro expressed a commitment to replace the stolen Eagles hoodie, saying, “Whoever had their Eagles hoodie stolen, if you could let us know, I’ll do my best to get you one of those new kelly green ones.”

[End of Article]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fugitive Capture

What led to Danelo Cavalcante’s escape from jail?

Danelo Cavalcante escaped from a Pennsylvania jail by crab-walking up between two walls topped with razor wire, then jumping from the roof.

How did law enforcement locate Cavalcante during his escape?

Aircraft equipped with a thermal imaging camera detected Cavalcante’s heat signature, leading to his apprehension.

What was the outcome of Cavalcante’s capture?

Cavalcante was subdued by a search dog and apprehended without any shots being fired. He sustained minor injuries during the capture.

How did the community react to his capture?

Local residents expressed relief and described a sense of security returning to their community after his capture.

What charges does Cavalcante face?

Cavalcante was arraigned on an escape charge, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for September 27. He is also serving a life sentence for a prior murder conviction.

Was anyone else involved in aiding Cavalcante during his time on the run?

There were indications that individuals had intentions to assist him, but authorities thwarted those efforts. His sister was detained, as she provided evasive information during his escape.

Why did Cavalcante’s case gain attention in Brazil?

Cavalcante faces accusations of “double qualified homicide” in Brazil in connection with a 2017 killing over a vehicle-repair debt. His case attracted significant attention there.

What led to the firing of the jail tower guard?

The guard on duty at the time of Cavalcante’s escape was dismissed due to the escape remaining undetected for over an hour.

What was the significance of the gray Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt?

Cavalcante was found wearing the sweatshirt upon capture, and it became notable as efforts were made to replace it for its owner.

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InfoNerd September 14, 2023 - 1:37 am

I wondr how he escapd 1st time? Also, sis involvd? wow! Scary story, glad they got him.

NewsJunkie45 September 14, 2023 - 4:33 am

gr8 job law, catchin him w/o shots fired. hpe he rots in jail. Eagles sweatshrt – haha, gimme 1!

EagleFan82 September 14, 2023 - 7:42 am

Eagles sweatshirt story’s hilarious, but serious stuff. glad comunity safe now.

JohnDoe September 14, 2023 - 8:11 am

fugitive caught, thx to thrmal camera. heat cam a lifesavr, cavalcante ws sneaky, bt dog got’im!

GrammarPolice September 14, 2023 - 6:41 pm

So many typoes and gramar errors, article needs serious editng!


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