Manhunt for Escaped Murderer Continues: Sister Arrested as Authorities Reveal His Attempts to Contact Former Coworkers

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
September 11, 2023US News
Manhunt for Escaped Murderer Continues: Sister Arrested as Authorities Reveal His Attempts to Contact Former Coworkers
Danelo Cavalcante. (Chester County Prison via AP)

As the manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante continues, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have arrested his sister as his former coworkers reported being contacted by the convicted murderer.

Mr. Cavalcante, 34, escaped from Chester County Prison, Pennsylvania, while he was awaiting transfer to state prison. He had been sentenced to life for stabbing his ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao to death in front of her children in April 2021.

The convict escaped by “crab walking” his way up two nearby brick walls in an exercise yard on Aug. 31. On Saturday, he slipped through a police perimeter and stole a dairy delivery van.

During a Sunday news conference, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens declined to comment on whether the arrest of Mr. Cavalcante’s sister Eleni was linked to his escape, but only mentioned that she faces possible deportation over “some immigration issues.”

Ms. Cavalcante’s boyfriend, Francisco Lima, helped her brother escape the state immediately after the murder. He bandaged his wounds, gave him clean clothes, and filled up his car’s gas tank. Mr. Lima received immunity for his testimony.

During the press conference, Lt. Bivens revealed that Mr. Cavalcante has made attempts to contact two former coworkers.

At around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, he showed up at an East Pikeland Township home of a person he had worked with several years ago, but the homeowner happened to be out at a family dinner. When he came home and reviewed his doorbell video, the homeowner notified the police.

After his first visit, Mr. Cavalcante then travelled to Phoenixville, where he arrived shortly after 10 p.m. at the home of another former coworker, who also was not at home at the time, police said.

Doorbell video footage revealed a clean-shaven Mr. Cavalcante wearing a yellow or green hooded sweatshirt, a black baseball cap, green prison pants, and white shoes, according to state police.

Danelo Cavalcante. (Pennsylvania State Police via AP)

The stolen van was found on Sunday morning in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, about 15 miles west of Phoenixville, Lt. Bivens said. Investigators believe Mr. Cavalcante likely abandoned the vehicle because it was low on fuel.

“We are obviously very concerned that Cavalcante has or will attempt to steal another vehicle to facilitate his escape,” Lt. Bivens said, adding that currently no vehicles were reported stolen.

The officer vowed to “aggressively continue” the search. “This is a minor setback,” he said. “We’ll get him, it’s a matter of time.”

Hundreds of officers have been deployed, and U.S. Marshalls, the FBI, and SWAT teams have joined the full-scale search for the convicted killer.

Mr. Cavalcante, who grew up in Brazil, where he is also wanted for a 2017 homicide, is considered “extremely dangerous.”

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