Escaped Pennsylvania killer captured after nearly 2 weeks on the run

Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday following a nearly two-week manhunt that included a search through heavily wooded terrain that slowed both searchers and the fleeing prisoner, officials said.

Danelo Cavalcante, a 34-year-old convicted killer who broke out of prison on Aug. 31, was in custody Wednesday morning, a law enforcement source told NBC News.

Pennsylvania State Police said they would hold a press conference at 9 a.m. to share details on his capture.

The 5-foot-2, 120-pound Cavalcante had stretched himself between a pair of parallel walls to reach the roof of Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township, surveillance video showed, and somehow evaded the watchtower guard.

An 18-year veteran guard who missed spotting Cavalcante’s escape has since been fired, a county spokesperson said. That guard, who has not been identified, had a cell phone in the tower, a violation of Chester County Prison policy, according to the county representative.

Cavalcante was convicted on Aug. 16 of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing a 33-year-old former girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Cavalcante is also wanted in his native Brazil, in connection to a 2017 murder there.

Even after Cavalcante had been fleeing for several days, police said they were confident they had him hemmed while also asking for the public’s patience.

The heavily wooded area where police had been looking for Cavalcante likely slowed both sides of the search. The fleeing killer had been spotted numerous times by surveillance cameras in the search area.

He’s also managed to shave and change clothes during his time on the outside, images of the escapee have shown.

avalcante managed to get into and drive a white 2020 Ford Transit van with a refrigeration unit on the top, before dumping it in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township on Sunday, state police said.

He also stole a rifle from a garage on Monday and was shot at by the homeowner, but was believed to be unharmed, officials said.

Some local schools and a botanical park closed during the manhunt, and at one point police helicopters and cars patrolling the area blasted audio of Cavalcante’s mother, appealing to him in Portuguese to surrender.

Cavalcante’s escape also forced police to provide 24-hour protection to the family of his victim, a prosecutor said.

The victim’s loved ones were “terrified” by Cavalcante’s escape and “barricaded” themselves inside their home despite a protective, round-the-clock police detail, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.