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Authorities think fugitive who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death might be trying to break into houses


As the Labor Day weekend continues, Pennsylvania authorities are still searching for a convicted murderer who escaped from a local prison. Investigators worry that Danelo Souza Cavalcante, 34, could use the holiday to break into temporarily vacant homes near Chester County Prison.

“Law enforcement is requesting that residents in the area remain indoors at this time,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a statement. “Lock your vehicles. Review your surveillance cameras and contact police if you observe anything suspicious. 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.”

Cavalcante is supposed to spend the rest of his days behind bars. He was sentenced last month to life in prison without the possibility of parole for stabbing his ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao in front of her young daughter and son. Brandao had learned that Cavalcante faced an open warrant in Brazil for murder, and she discussed going to cops about it, according to prosecutors.

But Cavalcante somehow broke out of the Chester County Prison on Thursday.

Authorities say that’s him on residential security footage on the 1800 block of Lenape Road at 1:43 a.m. Saturday. That’s about a 1.5 mile route south of the prison.

“The fugitive has not changed his appearance,” authorities wrote.

He was seen wearing pants, a white t-shirt, white sneakers, and a backpack, authorities said.

Ryan told reporters on Saturday that Cavalcante escaped from the prison with prison-issued pants and prison-issued shorts underneath. They are not sure where he got the backpack, she said.

She described the fugitive as a “small man,” standing just 5 feet tall, and weighing 120 pounds. Cavalcante has light skin, with “shaggy black hair” and brown eyes, authorities have said. Ryan described his hair as long and curly. Authorities say Cavalcante is fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish.

There is no evidence to show that anyone helped him escape or evade capture, authorities said Friday. They believe him to be alone.

The question now is how far he’ll range from the prison and whether he’ll try — or already tried — to break into local homes.

More Law&Crime coverage: Escaped inmates accused of officers’ murders captured

Tips from locals include allegations of possible break-ins in the one-to-two mile radius of the prison. One resident described seeing a small man fitting Cavalcante’s description in the area with a backpack around 11:30 p.m. on Friday.

“Police also received a report of an attempted burglary at 11:30 p.m. [on Friday] in the 1000 block of Ballintree Lane in Pocopson Township,” authorities have said.

Ryan encourages locals to remain vigilante, especially given the holiday weekend, where people may be out of town. She suggested Cavalcante may try to break into one of those homes. Ryan asked locals to keep an eye on neighbors’ property if possible. Call 911 if you see him, she said.

“We believe he’s in a certain area,” said Robert Clark of the U.S. Marshals Service. He said Saturday that more than 100 investigators from different agencies, including the Marshals and state police, are out. Investigators are searching the area, which is heavily wooded with more than 271 homes, he said.

Note: We clarified the motive of Cavalcante murdering Brandao.

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