Now armed, escaped murderer remains on the loose in N. Chesco

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

A recent doorbell cam image of Danelo Cavalcante.

Monday night brought yet another twist in the nearly two-week pursuit of Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who escaped from Chester County Prison on Aug. 31 — authorities now say he is armed with a rifle and remains at large in northern Chester County.

At a press conference Tuesday morning at Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens updated the public on the status of the search for Cavalcante, which now includes as many as 500 law enforcement officers.

Bivens described an encounter on Coventryville Road Monday night, which led to gunfire and Cavalcante getting a .22 rifle with scope and flashlight. Bivens said Cavalcante ran into an open garage just after 10 p.m. Monday — apparently seeking cover — and grabbed the rifle. However, the homeowner was in the garage and fired a number of shots at Cavalcante with a handgun, apparently missing all, and the fugitive fled the scene on foot.

As a result of this incident, the Owen J. Roberts School District opted to cancel in-person classes on Tuesday as the search continues. Initially, there appears to have been a “shelter-in-place” order for the immediate area, but authorities are now just warning residents to keep all doors locked on homes, outbuildings and cars.

Bivens made it clear that Cavalcante is dangerous — now more so with a rifle — and warned people not to approach him, but to call authorities if he is sighted, noting that he has already killed two people, his girlfriend in Chester County and another individual in his native Brazil.

Cavalcante’s prison sneakers were found and it appears he managed to steal a pair of work boots from a local porch during the night. Some discarded clothing items apparently were found, too, suggesting that Cavalcante is working to change his appearance.

Anyone with information on Cavalcante’s whereabouts is asked to contact the PSP at 717-562-2987.

Cavalcante escaped from Chester County Prison on August 31, where he was being held after his conviction earlier in the month of the 2021 killing his girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in front of her two young children. He was sentenced last month to life in prison and was awaiting reassignment to a state prison, pending the appeal of his sentence and conviction.

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