With the aid of video footage from residential surveillance cameras, authorities on Saturday narrowed their manhunt for a convicted murderer who escaped from a prison outside Philadelphia, officials said.
The fugitive, Danelo Cavalcante, who fled from Chester County Prison on Thursday, just over two weeks after being convicted of first-degree murder, was believed to be hiding within a mile or two of the prison, officials said at a news conference.
The Chester County district attorney’s office said in a Facebook post on Saturday that Mr. Cavalcante was spotted early Saturday morning on a residential surveillance camera near the prison. He was wearing a light-colored T-shirt, white sneakers and a backpack, the statement said.
The statement also said that the police received a report of an attempted burglary at 11:30 p.m. Friday in Pocopson Township, a little over two miles from the prison. Deborah Ryan, the Chester County district attorney, said in the news conference that officials could not confirm there was a connection, but she said authorities had “a strong belief” that it was Mr. Cavalcante, adding that a man wearing a backpack who matched Mr. Cavalcante’s description entered the home and was “thwarted by a homeowner at the time.”
Officials said they believed Mr. Cavalcante might be hiding in a heavily wooded area near the prison that also contains almost 300 homes, but they expected the search, which includes canines and drones, to be completed by Saturday afternoon. Ms. Ryan also said that it appeared Mr. Cavalcante, who officials said is five feet tall and speaks Spanish and Portuguese, was acting alone and hiding alone.
“We believe we are getting closer to locating this suspect,” Ms. Ryan said. “We are narrowing the scope of our search.”
She said Mr. Cavalcante is considered dangerous, and she urged residents in the area to stay inside, keep their homes and belongings locked and report anything suspicious. The police have responded to more than 100 tips from neighbors in the area, including allegations of break-ins, Ms. Ryan said. Local and federal authorities, including the U.S. Marshals Service, have announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads to Mr. Cavalcante’s capture.
Mr. Cavalcante, 34, was sentenced to life in prison on Aug. 22. Less than a week earlier, a jury found him guilty of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, “in front of her two young children,” Ms. Ryan said in a recent Facebook post.
After killing Ms. Brandao in April 2021, Mr. Cavalcante, who was living in Royersford, Pa., at the time, tried to make his way back to his home country of Brazil but was arrested by the police in Virginia, the district attorney said at a news conference on Friday. Ms. Ryan suggested that he might have been heading south again.
Before the attack, Ms. Brandao had learned of a warrant for Mr. Cavalcante’s arrest in connection with a killing in Brazil, and she threatened to tell the police, according to the district attorney’s office. “Detectives determined that this was the motive for the murder” in Pennsylvania, the office said in a Facebook post last week. The Facebook post also said Mr. Cavalcante had previously assaulted and threatened to kill Ms. Brandao.
In a statement released on Friday, Brazilian law enforcement authorities said that Mr. Cavalcante was charged with shooting and killing a man in November 2017, apparently in a dispute over “an alleged debt related to the repair of a vehicle.” A warrant for his arrest in Brazil was issued in June 2018, and he was considered “a fugitive from justice.”
Mr. Cavalcante had been held at the Chester County Prison since his arrest two years ago, according to a report in The Daily Local News. It said he was being held there for an additional 30 days after his sentencing, before a planned transfer to the state prison system, while he and his lawyers decided whether to appeal his conviction.
Campbell Robertson, Mike Ives and Ana Ionova contributed reporting.