Officials are searching for 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante, who broke out of the Chester County Prison at around 8:50AM Thursday, according to the Chester County District Attorney's office.
'His depravity knows no bounds': Chester County DA on escaped murderer
01:43 - Source: CNN
Philadelphia CNN  — 

A convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison Thursday was spotted on a surveillance camera in the area, according to local officials.

Danelo Cavalcante, 34, broke out of the Chester County Prison, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, at around 8:50 a.m. Thursday, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said. The district attorney, Deb Ryan, described Cavalcante as “an extremely dangerous man.”

Cavalcante was convicted of first-degree murder on August 16 for killing his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandão, in 2021. He was sentenced to life without parole last week.

The camera recorded Cavalcante at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Saturday about 1.5 miles away from Chester County Prison, the DA said in a Facebook post on Saturday morning. He was wearing a light-colored T-shirt, pants, and white sneakers and carrying a backpack. The DA described him as 5 feet tall with “shaggy black hair” and brown eyes.

Police also received a report of an attempted burglary at 11:30 p.m. in nearby Pocopson Township, the DA’s Facebook post says.

“Law enforcement is requesting that residents in the area remain indoors at this time. Lock your vehicles. Review your surveillance cameras and contact police if you observe anything suspicious,” Ryan said in a statement. “Danelo Cavalcante is considered an extremely dangerous man. Please remain vigilant in assisting with this search. If you see this individual do not approach him. Call 911 immediately.”

In a Saturday afternoon update, the district attorney reiterated authorities believe Cavalcante is still within one to two miles of the prison. She said they had received more than 100 tips related to the search.

“We are requesting that residents in the area remain inside, lock your doors, lock your cars,” Ryan said.

She added residents with Ring cameras or other surveillance cameras should review the footage for “anything remotely suspicious.”

Additionally, it’s “very likely” Cavalcante could attempt to break into homes left unoccupied by residents traveling for the Labor Day weekend, she said. She urged people to keep an eye out on neighbors’ empty homes.

The Longwood Gardens, a popular tourist destination, closed Saturday, citing advice from law enforcement, according to its website. The gardens, which cover more than 1,000 acres, are about five miles south of Chester County Prison.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers, including the US Marshals, SWAT, local, state and other agencies are conducting a search of the surrounding area, according to the DA.

“We believe he’s in the area, we have no information that he left the area,” Chief of Detectives David M. Sassa told Laura Coates on CNN Tonight. “This area where the prison is in Chester County is a rural area. There’s a lot of dense areas with trees and farming areas. We’ve been searching nonstop around the clock looking for this individual.”

Sassa repeatedly said if someone happens to see Cavalcante to not approach him and immediately report him to authorities to get him into custody as soon as possible.

“We have no information that anybody from his family or anybody else helped him escape at this point but again our efforts are focused on finding this individual,” Sassa said.

‘This is a very, very dangerous man’

Authorities previously said Cavalcante might be headed south toward Mexico and back to his home country of Brazil.

“When he murdered Deborah Brandão in 2021, he headed towards Brazil,” Ryan said at the news conference. “He was captured in Virginia, but the ultimate goal was to go to Mexico and then to Brazil.”

Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 homicide case in Brazil, which led to him fleeing the country, said Robert Clark, a supervisory deputy with the US Marshals Service.

“This is a very, very dangerous man,” Clark said at the news conference. “I think that’s the reason why you see such dedication here from the state police, the Marshals Service and our state and local partners.”

The US Marshals Service has informed Brazilian authorities of Cavalcante’s escape, Clark said.

On Friday, the district attorney’s office announced it was also increasing the reward money for any information leading to Cavalcante’s capture to $10,000, offered by the Chester County Commissioners and the US Marshals Service, according to an update on the manhunt posted to Facebook.

Cavalcante is “really good at hiding from law enforcement, and we believe that he’ll do anything in his power to attempt to evade us now,” Ryan told CNN’s Laura Coates Thursday on “CNN Tonight.”

“There are hundreds of people on the ground and in the air looking for him right now,” Ryan said.

Authorities are investigating whether Cavalcante had inside help to escape, Ryan said.

“Detectives from my office are conducting interviews to find out what happened,” Ryan said.

Ryan urged the public to call 911 immediately if they have any information about Cavalcante.

CNN’s Michelle Watson and Zoe Sottile contributed to this report.