The manhunt for fugitive killer Danelo Cavalcante has expanded after he was spotted at the homes of former colleagues – more than 20 miles outside the previously established search area, officials said.
The search for Cavalcante entered its 12th day on Monday, following several sightings over the weekend and the discovery of a van he had stolen and left outside the area searched by hundreds of officers.
The 34-year-old was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and was awaiting transfer at the Chester County Jail in Pennsylvania when he escaped over a wall on August 31.
Police had focused their search on the nearby area, where he had been spotted several times last week. But on Saturday, a clean-shaven Cavalcante was seen by a doorbell camera in East Pikeland Township outside the home of a former colleague before being spotted outside the home of another former colleague in nearby Phoenixville.
The homes are both outside the perimeter that police initially focused on, leading to questions about how Cavalcante slipped past hundreds of officers patrolling the area.
The manhunt for fugitive murderer Danelo Cavalcante has expanded after several sightings over the weekend. He is seen in front of a former colleague’s house
On Sunday, police found a 2020 Ford Transit van Cavalcante in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township – well outside the previous search area
State Police Lt. George Bivens vowed to “aggressively continue” the search with the help of federal, state, county and local resources and expressed confidence the fugitive would eventually be recaptured.
“This is a small setback,” he said. “We’ll get him, it’s a matter of time.”
On Sunday, police found a stolen 2020 Ford Transit van Cavalcante in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township – outside the previous search area. Cavalcante got it from West Chester-based Baily’s Dairy, near the prison.
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.”
Bivens said he believes Cavalcante abandoned the vehicle at least in part because it was running low on fuel. While police searched the immediate area for any sign of him, authorities feared he would attempt to obtain another vehicle or had already done so.
“We are obviously very concerned that Cavalcante has attempted or will attempt to steal another vehicle to facilitate his escape,” Bivens said. “This latest incident is a reminder that he will take every opportunity to get the items he needs.”
The theft went unnoticed for hours, and in the meantime, Cavalcante, 34, traveled more than 20 miles northeast to East Pikeland Township and Phoenixville. Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, he went to the East Pikeland Township home of a person he worked with several years ago and asked to meet him, police said.
Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 murder case in his native Brazil
The 34-year-old was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and escaped from Chester County Jail on August 31
Cavalcante makes his way to freedom at the Chester County Jail on August 31st
The homeowner, who was at dinner with his family and unresponsive, called police after returning home and viewing his doorbell video. Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, police said, Cavalcante went to the home of another former co-worker in the Phoenixville area who was not home, police said.
Cavalcante, who is from Brazil, was seen on an outdoor surveillance camera looking at the camera before running between two walls, scaling a fence and over barbed wire during the daring escape that took place in broad daylight from here jumped Chester County Jail on August 31st.
Before this weekend, the “extremely dangerous” killer had been repeatedly spotted in the 759 square mile search area surrounding the prison.
On Saturday, Cavalcante was seen wearing a black baseball cap, green hoodie, green prison pants and white shoes as he appeared to grin into the doorbell camera at his former colleague’s home.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania prison guard who neither saw nor reported the escape was fired. Prison officials told CNN the correctional officer was an 18-year prison veteran.
Hundreds of officers are on duty and are taking part in the large-scale manhunt as the search for the fugitive becomes more and more intensive.
Helicopters, drones and dogs are being used in ground and aerial searches as authorities face extreme heat, high humidity and difficult landscapes.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Friday they “pulled in more people as the night went on last night, with additional help from other agencies, from our own agency.”
“We have somewhere over 350, almost 400 people working on it today.”
Police officers have warned residents that Cavalcante is extremely dangerous and urged them to lock their doors. Authorities have now increased the reward for information to $20,000.
Several schools were closed and frightened residents remained barricaded in their homes.
The first sighting of Cavalcante came when he was spotted at 1:43 a.m. on Sept. 2 in the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pocopson Township, about 1.5 miles from the Chester County Jail.
He was later seen on surveillance video in the early hours of September 2nd wearing a white T-shirt and white sneakers and carrying a backpack that he had mysteriously received.
Before this weekend, the “extremely dangerous” killer had been repeatedly spotted in the 759 square mile search area surrounding the prison
Police officers have warned residents that Cavalcante is extremely dangerous and urged them to lock their doors
It was later reported that the criminal was seen again at his house at 11:45 pm on Friday evening in the same area by a resident of Pocopson Township. He “turned on the lights” at the owner’s house, then stole some groceries and then left.
A trail camera recorded Cavalcante hiking through the forest twice within an hour on Monday, September 4th.
On Tuesday, September 5, Cavalcante was spotted again at night near Chandler Road in the Pennsbury area by a resident who saw the prisoner in the creek bed near her home.
The escaped prisoner was then spotted near Longwood Gardens around midday on September 7th. A resident saw him running in a wooded area and Longwood Gardens was closed early as police officers searched for Cavalcante.
Police confirmed another sighting of the criminal on Thursday evening, September 7, but did not provide any details.
There may have been a ninth sighting of the escaped prisoner on the morning of Friday, September 8th, in connection with the break-in at a house in Kennett Square.
Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 murder case in his native Brazil. Authorities believe he tried to flee to Mexico to return to Brazil after being captured in Virginia for Brandão’s killing.
Police have broadcast footage of the prisoner’s mother speaking in Portuguese from helicopters flying over the search area to facilitate his peaceful handover. They have previously warned that the fugitive could try to flee to Brazil.