Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murdered who broke out of a Pennsylvania prison, was captured after an intense manhunt of nearly two weeks, Pennsylvania police said Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania State Police wrote on social media that Cavalcante was captured. Further details will be released at a 9:30 a.m. news conference, the agency added.
Cavalcante, 34, escaped from Chester County Prison on Aug. 31 while he was awaiting transfer to a state facility to serve a life sentence for fatally stabbing an ex-girlfriend in 2021. Prosecutors say he killed her to stop her from telling police he was wanted in a 2017 slaying in his native Brazil.
More: The escaped prisoner Danelo Cavalcante was caught. Why the ordeal scared us so much.
He was spotted several times on security cameras or by eyewitnesses but repeatedly eluded law enforcement. Late Monday night, he walked into the open garage of a home in a rural area 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, stole a rifle and fled as the homeowner shot at him several times with a pistol, police said.
Authorities closed roads and released warnings urging nearby residents to stay inside and lock their doors Tuesday. One local school district canceled classes twice this week.
Police focused their pursuit on South Coventry Township, a rural area in northern Chester County, roughly 20 miles north of the prison Cavalcante escaped.
Escaped inmate convicted of stabbing girlfriend to death
Cavalcante was recently convicted of murder in the 2021 stabbing death of 33-year-old Deborah Brandao in front of her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son after a jury took just 15 minutes to decide his guilt. He was handed a life sentence days before his escape.
According to Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan, Cavalcante was in a relationship with Brandao for about a year and a half and “engaged in a horrific pattern of domestic violence.” He stabbed Brandao 38 times in broad daylight, Ryan said.
“His depravity knows no bounds,” she said the day of his escape.
Rafael Pinto Alamy, a homicide prosecutor in the Brazilian state of Tocantins, told USA TODAY that Cavalcante is accused of fatally shooting 20-year-old Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reisa in November 2017 in the rural municipality of Figueiropolis over an alleged car repair debt owed to Cavalcante. Pinto Alamy said the case was suspended after Cavalcante fled the country. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement confirmed Cavalcante entered the country illegally.
How he escaped from prison
Officials said Cavalcante broke free by crab-walking up a wall while he was out in the exercise yard, pushing through razor wire and running across a roof. A watch tower officer who has since been fired didn’t see him slip away.
Security footage shows the moment at about 8:50 a.m. on Aug. 31 when Cavalcante used his outstretched arms and legs to brace himself between two walls and “crab walk” up before disappearing out of sight. At one point he scaled a fence lined with more razor wire, according to acting prison warden Howard Holland.
It was the second escape from the facility in recent months. In May, inmate Igor Bolte broke out from the same location in a similar way but was seen by the tower officer on watch and quickly recaptured. Cavalcante’s escape differed in two important ways: He had to get through new razor wire that was added after Bolte’s escape, and nobody saw him do it.
Cavalcante’s disappearance was discovered nearly an hour later during an inmate count after the block returned from the yard.
Cavalcante caught on security cameras during search
Cavalcante was spotted a handful of times by residents and security cameras in the days after his escape, authorities said. At one point, a state trooper briefly chased Cavalcante but was unable to capture him.
His escape prompted school closures and lockdowns as authorities deployed helicopters, drones and dogs to scour the area.
About 10 days after his jailbreak, Cavalcante eluded hundreds of law enforcement officers searching the Longwood Gardens botanical park area. Authorities had set up a perimeter in the botanical park area, just south of the Chester County Prison, but failed to contain him.
He was then seen in Phoenixville, more than 20 miles northeast of the Longwood Gardens, where he appeared on a doorbell camera with a clean-shaven face and new clothes. Authorities said Cavalcante stole a delivery van and drove to the homes of two former coworkers.
The stolen van was found the following day in a field about 15 miles west of Phoenixville.
Authorities offered to $25,000 in reward money for information leading to Cavalcante’s capture.
Contributing: Eduardo Cuevas and Christopher Cann; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Danelo Cavalcante captured live updates: Two-week manhunt ends in Pa.