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State Police Announce Capture of Escaped Chester County Inmate

09/13/2023

Kennett Square, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police today announced the successful capture of a prison inmate who escaped from a county prison just days after he was ordered to serve a life sentence for murder. Danelo Cavalcante was taken into custody within an established perimeter in northern Chester County, with no shots fired and no injury to law enforcement, shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"I want to say thank you to the dedicated law enforcement professionals from every level who each and every day go out of their homes, leave their families, leave their loved ones, to keep us safe," Governor Josh Shapiro said at a news conference. "The public over the last 13 days has had a chance to see what excellence in law enforcement means, what true dedicated professionalism is all about." 

Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, thanked the federal, state and municipal law enforcement partners, the Chester County District Attorney's Office, and community members for their support in bringing the operation to a successful conclusion.

"To the people of Chester County, we appreciate your support, and we appreciate the dedication and generosity you have shown us. We are in your debt," Colonel Paris said. "This was a major operation. We know that it has affected your lives, and we're very much appreciative of that support." 

Cavalcante, a Brazilian national, escaped the Chester County Prison on August 31, nine days after he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for the first-degree murder of a former girlfriend in 2021. He is also wanted for a murder in Brazil. Two days before his capture, Cavalcante stole a .22-caliber rifle with a scope and mounted flashlight from a residential garage.
The events leading to Cavalcante's capture began early Wednesday with the activation of a residential burglary alarm. Law enforcement investigated but did not locate Cavalcante. Around 1 a.m., a DEA fixed-wing aircraft utilizing Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) Technology to scan the area detected a heat signature and began tracking it, but a thunderstorm forced the aircraft to depart as tactical teams converged on the location.

Tactical teams secured and held the area until the search resumed shortly after 8 a.m.

"They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise. Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred," said Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, Deputy Commissioner of Operations. "That did not stop him from trying to escape. He began to crawl through thick underbrush, taking his rifle with him as he went."

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection tactical unit released a dog that was able to subdue Cavalcante. He resisted arrest but was forcibly taken into custody. After processing at PSP Avondale, he was transferred to a state correctional facility.

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