A dramatic end to a 14-day manhunt unfolded in Pennsylvania as law enforcement officials successfully captured Danelo Cavalcante.
A fugitive who had escaped from a county-run prison just days after being sentenced to life without parole for the brutal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao.
Pennsylvania Ongoing Investigation and Legal Proceedings
The tragic murder in 2021 had sent shockwaves through the community, and the subsequent conviction of Cavalcante had brought some semblance of justice. However, his daring escape had kept residents in Chester County on edge.
The capture, which occurred at 8:14 a.m. on a Wednesday, was a result of coordinated efforts by local, state, and federal agencies. The hunt for Cavalcante led authorities to South Coventry Township, where he was found hiding in or near a pile of logs behind a John Deere store, approximately 30 miles from the prison he had escaped.
Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, described how a federal Drug Enforcement Administration aircraft, equipped with infrared imaging technology, initially detected a heat source in the area.
Community’s Jubilant Reaction to Cavalcante’s Capture
A tactical unit and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection team were swiftly deployed, surrounding Cavalcante, who only realized he was cornered when officers closed in.
Cavalcante, determined to evade capture, attempted to crawl through thick brush, armed with a stolen .22-caliber rifle. In this critical moment, Yoda, a skilled K-9 from the Border Patrol team, played a pivotal role. The Belgian Malinois bit Cavalcante, aiding in his apprehension without any shots being fired, and preventing harm to law enforcement officers.
Following the arrest, Cavalcante was denied bail and arraigned on a felony escape charge. Residents in the area lined the roadway, cheering and applauding as the armored vehicle carrying him approached the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Avondale.
Cavalcante’s capture brought immense relief to the community, which had been living in fear during the manhunt. Now, he will face the consequences of his actions, including serving his life sentence for the brutal murder of Deborah Brandao.
The ordeal had been particularly distressing for Brandao’s family, who were placed under 24-hour protection during the search.
Sarah Brandao, Deborah’s sister, expressed gratitude for law enforcement’s tireless efforts in bringing Cavalcante to justice and shared her family’s need to heal and process the traumatic events that had unfolded.
This successful operation marked the end of a harrowing chapter in Chester County’s history, and the community could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.