Pocoson, PA TWP — It has been a week since Danelo Cavalcante, 34, escaped from a Pennsylvania prison, sparking a massive manhunt.
Federal and local agencies have been searching for the 34-year-old convicted killer since he escaped the Chester County Jail on Aug. 31.
At a news conference on Thursday, authorities said Cavalcante may have been sighted near Longwood Gardens before 12 noon.
“A search of the area has been ongoing over the past few hours and is continuing,” said Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens.
Timeline: Everything we know about the Chester County jailbreak
Cavalkant was spotted by trail cameras in Longwood Gardens on Monday night. Bivins said Thursday’s possible sighting was not far from the location.
Investigators still believe he was within a search area of about 8 to 10 square miles.
Cafracante went from being a nice neighbor to a jealous boyfriend, says victim’s sister
The fugitive was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao 38 times in Schuylkill in front of her two young children in 2021.
Sarah Brandao, the victim’s sister, told CNN that Caflacante seemed to change over time, eventually showing jealousy and fraternizing with Deborah. Threatened her before death.
SEE ALSO: Fugitive Chester County killer used previous escapee’s escape method: Warden
Sarah, who lived close to both of them and was caring for Deborah’s two children and her own daughter in Pennsylvania, was terrified of his escape, fearing he would come after her.
“I haven’t slept in days. I’ve been woken up at night since (his escape). I took a nap and woke up again,” Sarah Brandao told CNN express.
Over time, Sarah said, his behavior toward Deborah changed.
“She kept saying he was very jealous – when he was drinking he was a different person; he was looking at her phone all the time,” Sarah said.
Video captures escape process
Video released by authorities on Wednesday shows how Cavalkant escaped from prison.
The incident happened at 8:51 a.m. at a facility in the town of Pokopson.
The video shows Cavalkant walking towards the door of the Chester County Jail. Then he looked back for a moment.
Cavalkant then put his hands on one wall and his feet on the other, and managed to climb the wall while keeping it parallel to the ground.
Acting Warden Howard Holland said Cavalkant then climbed onto the roof, through barbed wire, climbed another fence and escaped through more barbed wire.
Holland said there was a guard inside the watchtower, but that person did not see the escape route.
We now know that the officers in that tower are on administrative leave as the criminal investigation unfolds.
Cavalkant escape timeline
Investigators said Cavalkante did not report back during entertainment hours and took an hour to be reported missing.
Acting Warden Howard Holland released the following timeline:
8:33 am: Cavalkant’s block goes to practice field
8:51 AM: Cavalkant escaped the prison by climbing walls, running through barbed wire, running across rooftops and through more barbed wire in crablike fashion.
9:35 am: Cavalcante’s block returns from yard to unit
9:45 am: Police officers in the Cavalcant neighborhood notified the Central Control Center of a missing prisoner
9:48 am: Officials notified the central control center that Cavalkante was missing.He was believed to be in a telephone visitation room, but he wasn’t there
9:50 am: Prisons locked down and special inventory taken
10:01 AM: The public escape alarm is sounded and the 911 center is notified
Cavalcante’s latest sightings
State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Cavalkant had been spotted at least eight times since his escape.
Most recently, around noon, a civilian saw what looked like Cavalkant running through an area near Longwood Gardens, one of the most famous botanical gardens in the United States. Cavalcante was seen walking in the garden on a trail surveillance video on Monday night.
SEE ALSO: Pokopson Township resident believes fugitive killer Danello Cavalcante is in his home
State police said Cavalkanter was seen by a resident in the Chandler Road area of Pennsbury Township on Tuesday night. Lt. Col. George Bivins said Wednesday that teams searched for hours but were unable to locate him.
Cavalkant was also seen on video at around 1:43 a.m. on Sept. 2 in the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pokopson Township. About 1.5 miles from the jail.
A state trooper also spotted Cavalcante from a distance the next day and chased him, but lost him, police said.
Hours before that, Ryan Drummond claimed to have seen Cavalcante in his home around 11:45 p.m. on Friday. After police arrived, the man fled back into dense woods and bushes after eating some food.
‘I’m not scared, but it’s disturbing’
Wendy Hughes, 60, has resumed her morning walks but now carries pepper spray and felt more at ease when she saw state troopers nearby Thursday morning.
“I’m not scared, but it’s disturbing,” said Hughes, who lives about 2 miles from Longwood Gardens. “You don’t want to think about it anymore.”
She works from her home in Chaddsford and does not need to go out very often. But other residents are also reportedly facing roadblocks, intermittent lockdowns and school closures.
Hughes said: “While somewhat frustrating, it’s amazing how critical people have been on social media. I’m thankful for law enforcement. It’s a feat in this heat and in the terrain around here. Tough job.” There was helicopter activity nearby just before midnight on Wednesday. “These conditions can wear them down.”
target search area
Since Cavalcante’s escape, police have been changing the size of the search area to identify sightings and possible activity.
The boundaries of the current search are Route 926 to the north, Hillendale Road to the south, Creek Road to the east, and Route 52 to the west.
Hot weather, dense forests complicate search
Chester County’s dense woods, thick undergrowth and hot weather complicated the search for Cavalcant.
Pennsylvania State Police tackled the issue after Cavalkant bypassed a cordon established by authorities after escaping from the county jail.
Police said the brush likely helped the convicted killer stay hidden. Police said the bush was so thick that searchers could only walk a few feet before losing sight of each other and having to cut their way through the bush.
Equipment normally used for such searches is being hampered by the weather. For technology capable of detecting body temperature, it’s too hot to pick up anything.
Cavalkant has secured backpacks, clothing and unknown supplies.
Police said the convicted killer was increasingly eager to get away and they wanted to minimize his chances of meeting other people or obtaining any other items.
What does Danello Cavalcante look like?
Cavalkant is 5 feet tall and 120 pounds, with shaggy black curly hair and brown eyes. He is Brazilian and speaks Portuguese, Spanish and some English.
What was Cavalkant convicted of?
Cavalkant was convicted on Aug. 16 of first-degree murder for murdering the two children of ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao in the town of Schuylkill in 2021. He stabbed her to death 38 times.
He was sentenced to life without parole last week for the fatal stabbing and will be transferred to a state corrections facility within four weeks.
Prosecutors said he killed his girlfriend to prevent her from speaking to police about the allegations against him in Brazil. After Brandau was killed, he was arrested in Virginia and authorities believed he was trying to return to his home country.
How residents can help
Residents are being asked to protect their property, check on neighbors and keep an eye out for security cameras. If you notice anything suspicious please contact the police.
How to Report Cavalcante Information to the Police
Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or the US Marshals Reporting Hotline at 877-WANTED-2. A $20,000 reward is on offer for any information leading to Cavalcante’s capture.