WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — A recently convicted murderer who has been on the run for days after escaping a suburban Philadelphia jail was spotted by residential security cameras in an area not far from the jail just after midnight Saturday, authorities said .
Authorities have not disclosed the circumstances under which 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante managed to escape from Chester State Prison on Thursday morning and say the incident is being investigated. He was sentenced to life in prison last month for killing his ex-girlfriend in front of her children and escaped while awaiting transfer to state prison.
Cavalcante was spotted by cameras around 12:30 p.m. in Pocopson Township, about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the jail, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Local police also received a report of an attempted home break-in around 11:30pm on Friday, although it was not immediately clear if Cavalcante was involved.
Prosecutors said Cavalcante’s appearance hasn’t changed since his escape — a white T-shirt, backpack, curly black hair, and a close-cropped beard and mustache. Authorities described him as 1.5 meters tall and weighing 54 kilograms.
A jury convicted Cavalcante of the 2021 murder of Deborah Brandao. He is also wanted in his native country of Brazil in a separate murder case in 2017 and is considered an extremely dangerous person, according to authorities.
Prosecutors claim he killed his girlfriend to prevent her from telling police in Brazil about the charges against him. He was captured in Virginia after Brandao’s assassination and authorities believe he was attempting to return to his home country.
Police officers used drones, helicopters and dogs to locate Cavalcante. The search focused on railroads, waterways, and off-area routes. The prison is approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Philadelphia.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said Friday that authorities believe Cavalcante is attempting to flee south, but also has no evidence Cavalcante left the area or that he is receiving help from others.
Authorities said residents should continue to scan video from their doorbells or security cameras for anything suspicious, and check their cars, sheds and outbuildings. They also advised people to check vacationing neighbors’ homes and be on the lookout for missing cars, bikes or other transportation that Cavalcante could use as flight assistance.
Robert Clark, head of the US Marshals’ fugitive group in Philadelphia, said the Brazilian consulate had been briefed on Cavalcante’s escape.
It’s not the first time an inmate has escaped from a Pennsylvania prison this year.
A murder suspect was on the run for over a week after escaping Warren County Jail on July 6th by climbing exercise machines, going through a window, and climbing down a rope made of prison bedding. According to authorities, he was caught looking dirty, wet and “exhausted” from living in the wilderness to avoid arrest.