Escaped murderer on the run in Pennsylvania has changed his appearance and disappeared from search areas


PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say an escaped killer who has evaded capture since escaping from a southeastern Pennsylvania prison a week and a half ago has apparently disappeared from the search area, changed his appearance and is now in Vehicle stolen from prison wanted.

Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement Sunday morning that Danelo Souza Cavalcante was seen overnight near Phoenixville in northern Chester County, more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of the area the search has been focused on so far. However, just before noon Sunday, they said that Phoenixville residents might not see a major police presence as “investigative leads have surfaced indicating Cavalcante is no longer in the area.”

Cavalcante was now clean-shaven and wearing a yellow or green hooded sweatshirt, a black baseball cap, green prison pants and white shoes, police said. He was driving a white 2020 Ford Transit with an overhead refrigeration unit that was reported stolen from Baily’s Dairy and has Pennsylvania license plate ZST8818.

Baily’s Dairy said on its Facebook page that the van was stolen between 7 and 10 p.m. on Saturday “while we were still working here.” The dairy said it is working with law enforcement to assist in the investigation and “we … are just as disappointed as everyone else that he broke the cordon in Longwood.”

Cavalcante, 34, escaped from Chester County Jail on August 31 while awaiting transfer to state prison after being sentenced to life in prison in 2021 for the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend in his home country of Brazil.

Phoenixville is about 13 miles (21 kilometers) northeast of the prison and more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Longwood Gardens Botanical Park, which has been the center of the search in recent days. Police reported two additional confirmed sightings of Cavalcante in this search area on Saturday. Longwood Gardens posted a notice saying the search “has moved north of our community,” but it remained closed while “the condition of our gardens is assessed.”

Authorities have described Cavalcante as extremely dangerous. Police ask anyone with information to call 911. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Friday that about 400 personnel were involved in the search of Philadelphia’s southeastern suburbs, farmland and the vast botanical gardens, including tactical teams in full riot gear, sniffer dogs and officers on horseback, as well as aircraft.

Officials at Kennett Square, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the county jail, said the annual mushroom festival would go ahead as planned on Saturday and Sunday despite the ongoing search, and assured visitors that “all necessary precautions and protocols” would be taken.

Authorities announced Friday the firing of the prison guard on duty as Cavalcante, crabbing from the recreation yard, scaled a wall, climbed over barbed wire, ran across a roof and jumped to the ground. His escape went undetected for more than an hour until guards conducted a head count.

Cavalcante’s escape and search attracted international attention and made major headlines in Brazil. Prosecutors in Tocantins state say he will be charged with “double homicide” in the 2017 murder of Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reis in Figueirópolis, which was allegedly a debt the victim owed him in connection with the repair of a vehicle.

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