Danelo Cavalcante killed his girlfriend in front of her children. Now he’s on the run after a prison break

DAnelo Cavalcante was convicted of murder last month for brutally stabbing his former girlfriend to death in front of her children.

Less than two weeks after his life sentence, the 34-year-old sparked new horrors when he escaped from a Pennsylvania prison.

A manhunt is currently underway to locate Cavalcante, who is considered “extremely dangerous”.

Cavalcante was found guilty of the murder of Deborah Brandao on Aug. 16 – more than two years after he stabbed her 38 times with a kitchen knife in Schuylkill Township in April 2021. Arrest warrants were issued against him for another alleged murder in his home country of Brazil im year 2017.

Just days after beginning his life sentence for the Brandao assassination, Cavalcante was released from Chester State Prison on the morning of August 31.

Here's everything we know about Cavalcante and his escape:

The escape

Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County Jail in Pocopson Township, Pennsylvania, around 8:50 a.m. Thursday (Aug. 31).

The escaped killer was last caught on camera Monday (September 4) at Longwood Gardens in East Marlborough Township, Chester County.

He traveled north at approximately 8:21 p.m. and was then seen again at 9:33 p.m. local time passing the camera.

As a result, the police have now moved and expanded the police area and closed nearby schools.

The images show that Cavalcante captured a backpack and a hoodie when he escaped.

Danelo Cavalcante captured with a game camera at Longwood Garden

(PA State Trooper and Chester County District Attorney)

Cavalcante was seen at the intersection of Routes 926 and 52, north of Route 52 to Parkersville Road, southeast of Route 926 and west of the intersection of Routes 926 and 52 in Pocopson Township, police said.

Two burglaries were also reported in the area, which police are investigating. However, it is currently not confirmed that these burglaries are linked to the escaped prisoner.

However, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said the incidents “are of interest to us.”

In a picture previously released by the Chester County District Attorney, Cavalcante wore pants, a light-colored T-shirt, white sneakers and a backpack. He is described as having long, black, curly hair and police said his “appearance remained unchanged”.

Local authorities received a report of an attempted break-in in the area just an hour before Cavalcante was arrested on surveillance. However, it is not immediately clear if he was involved.

Cavalcante was last seen on surveillance footage around 12.30pm about a mile and a half from the jail on Saturday

(Chester County District Attorney's Office)

Police have not disclosed the circumstances under which Cavalcante managed to escape from Chester State Prison, saying the incident is still under investigation.

“A search of the prison and the surrounding area is currently underway,” the Chester County District Attorney's Office said initially.

“Notification of the escape was shared with all residents within a six-mile radius of the prison. Chester County Criminal Investigation and Pennsylvania State Police are conducting a thorough statewide search and prison officials are conducting an internal investigation.”

Given the danger surrounding the situation, residents have been asked to “stay indoors at this time”. Lock your vehicles. Check your security cameras and contact the police if you see anything suspicious,” prosecutor Deb Ryan said.

The search for escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante continues

The manhunt

Police released a poster with images of Cavalcante, both captured on CCTV footage, and a picture of him from prison.

Authorities said in a “case outline” there would be a “combined reward” of $5,000 from the US Marshals Service and $5,000 from Chester County.

“Danelo Souza Cavalcante is wanted by the Chester County CID, Pennsylvania State Police and United States Marshals Service (USMS) for escaping Chester County

“Prison on 08/31/2023. Cavalcante is also wanted for murder in Brazil. “He is a Brazilian citizen and speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish,” the wanted poster reads.

According to authorities, law enforcement including U.S. Marshals, SWAT and other federal agencies have joined the search for Cavalcante.

The Philadelphia investigators Oversight Agent to US Marshal Robert Clark reportedly said Friday that the agency had received more than 100 tips from residents.

The outlet reported that the marshals used helicopters, drones and other tools to search for Cavalcante in the wooded areas near the jail.

Police also smuggled a message from his mother, speaking in Portuguese, to his hideout in front of police helicopters and patrol cars.

Robert Clark, US Assistant Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, explained at a conference why these tactics were used.

“As desperate as he is, maybe he'll change his mind and hear his mother tell him to surrender and his family will take care of him,” Mr Clark said.

“Maybe that's what gets him over the brink of a peaceful surrender.”

Although Mr Clark did not confirm the exact wording of the message to Cavalcante, he said the killer's mother urged him to turn himself in to authorities.

“She just encourages him that his family loves him and that they want him to surrender. And that's our hope too,” he said.

The murder

Cavalcante was convicted of the August 16 murder of 33-year-old Deboral Brandao after the jury deliberated for just 15 minutes. On August 22, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Cavalcante and Brandao reportedly met through mutual friends and moved in with their two children shortly after beginning their two-year relationship.

Prosecutors detailed his domestic violence against Brandao during the trial.

Deborah Brandao (pictured) was stabbed to death in April 2021 in front of her children

(Brandao family handout)

Cavalcante Brandao reportedly bit her lip so hard that blood shed in June 2020 and chased her and her children from their home. Brandao and her children hid in a neighbor's apartment and the police issued an arrest warrant for Cavalcante. However, he did not turn himself in.

Later that year, Cavalcante reportedly attacked Brandao again and pursued them with a knife Philadelphia investigators reported.

Brandao then sought an abuse restraining order against him, but that lapsed in March 2021 when she failed to show up for a hearing.

According to evidence presented at the trial, the two kept in touch and police said Cavalcante drove to Brandao's home in April 2021 to confront her.

While Brandao's children, then seven and three years old, played nearby, Cavalcante pulled their hair and threw them to the ground. He then began stabbing her repeatedly.

Brandao was later pronounced dead at Paoli Hospital, the outlet said. Two of Cavalcante's friends testified at his trial that they helped the killer escape and gave him clean clothes so he could “disappear” for a while.

Prosecutors said Cavalcante killed Brandao to keep her from telling police about his outstanding murder warrant in Brazil.

He was captured shortly after the Virginia stabbing, while police said he was trying to return to Brazil.

Cavalcante is described as a 1.50 meter tall, light complexion Brazilian male with shaggy black curly hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about Cavalcante's current whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the US Marshals tipline at 877-WANTED-2.