Cops chasing Danelo Cavalcante play mother’s surrender request

An ‘extremely dangerous’ killer has escaped from Pennsylvania prison – and authorities are leaking a message from the convict’s mother urging her son to turn himself in as the manhunt for him continues.

Danelo Souza Cavalcante, 34, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, managed to escape from the Chester County Jail on Thursday, state police officials said.

He has since been sighted at least four times within a two-mile radius of Pocopson Township, with local police responding to more than 100 leads from residents – including allegations of possible home break-ins, 6ABC reports.

One of those sightings occurred late at night when Cavalcante was spotted on surveillance footage on a trail in the woods.

Lt. Col. George Bivens, the Pennsylvania State Police assistant commissioner of operations, said Monday that the agency had taken the lead in the investigation and deployed more technology and manpower to help with the manhunt, including a voice recording of his mother from a helicopter, exploring the area.

“One of the things we did was have the person’s mother take a shot urging them to surrender peacefully,” Bivens said.

“The broadcast is in an effort to facilitate his peaceful surrender,” Bivens said, adding that the message was recorded in Cavalcante’s native language, Portuguese.

A mug shot of Danelo Souza Cavalcante, 34, showing a man with curly black hair, dark eyes, a beard and mustache.
Danelo Souza Cavalcante, 34, has been convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend.
Chester County District Attorney’s Office

A black-and-white surveillance photo shows a man with long curly hair, a mustache and a beard carrying a bag with baggy pants through the woods.
Cavalcante was last spotted walking a forest trail late Monday night after escaping from prison on Thursday.
Pennsylvania State Police

Cavalcante was found guilty on Aug. 16 of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao 38 times in 2021 in front of their two young children.

At the time, Bivens said, there was an active arrest warrant out for him for another alleged murder in his home country of Brazil in 2017.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole last week and was due to be transferred to a state correctional facility in four weeks, according to 6ABC.

But on Thursday morning, Cavalcante somehow managed to escape from the Chester County Jail, with investigators saying they believed he was headed south.

Authorities are still trying to figure out how he escaped.

Since then, the killer has been spotted in the area several times. He was still wearing his jail-issue pants and a light-colored T-shirt — though he somehow managed to get hold of a dark-colored backpack, prosecutors said.

One such possible sighting came from resident Ryan Drummond, who claims to have seen Cavalcante at his home around 11:45 p.m. Friday.

A helicopter is pictured in the air.
State police announced they had begun condemning his mother’s request to surrender from a helicopter.
Ryan Drummond on WPVI

Black and white surveillance footage shows a figure hiding in the bushes.
On Saturday, the escaped killer was spotted by residential security camera at around 12:30pm in the 1800 block of Lenape Road.
Chester County District Attorney’s Office

“I woke my wife up and said, ‘I think there might be someone downstairs,'” he told 6ABC.

He said after hearing a rustle he rushed to the top of the stairs.

“I decided to flick the switch three or four times, take a break, and then flick a light switch from below,” Drummond claimed. “That was the moment of ‘Oh my god, that guy’s down there.'”

Drummond said he then made sure his children were still asleep in bed and watched Cavalcante leave the kitchen.

“I saw him walk through our living room from the kitchen and open the door [and] walked out,” Drummond told the local news outlet. “He was wearing a white shirt and had a bag.”

Then, around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the escaped killer was spotted by a surveillance camera in residential areas in Block 1800 of Lenape Road, just about a mile and a half from the jail, Bivens said at Monday’s news conference.

A third sighting occurred Sunday afternoon when a state police officer spotted Cavalcante from afar and gave chase, Bivens said, but the officer was unable to catch the fugitive due to terrain and other obstacles.

Bivens said Cavalcante looked a little jaded and tired during the “very brief sighting”.

Cavalcante is pictured in a white t-shirt and blue pants.
It remains unclear how Cavalcante escaped from prison.

Deborah Brandao is pictured smiling with headphones.
Cavalcante was found guilty on Aug. 16 of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao (pictured) 38 times in 2021 in front of their two young children.
Brandao family

Authorities received another report of a possible sighting of Cavalcante around 6pm Monday – but when police arrived at the scene he was nowhere to be found.

And early Tuesday morning, police officers in full tactical gear were seen speeding out of the area near Route 926 and Route 52 at high speed after being spotted by a wildlife camera in Longwood Gardens at 10:33 p.m. the night before , 6ABC reported.

“We will continue this search, we will continue a hard search,” Bivens said at a separate news conference on Tuesday morning.

“He’s a bad guy, he needs to be in custody and we’re going to catch him.”

Bivens also said he believes Cavalcante will “slip,” noting, “We’re forcing him to move and that’s a good thing.”

Police officers in tactical gear can be seen in the back seat of an SUV.
State and local authorities have searched for Cavalcante within a two-mile radius of the prison.

Police officers in tactical gear are seen walking down a street.
Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy chief of operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, urges the community to be vigilant.

Police officers are seen walking through a park.
Some residents have reported that Cavalcante was seen in their neighborhood or broke into their home.
Ryan Drummond on WPVI

Noting that his team recognizes this is distressing for the local community, Bivens added that state and local police – in cooperation with federal agencies – are working to get the manhunt fixed as soon as possible to bring closure.

Prosecutors are also asking residents to stay indoors and lock their vehicles and review all surveillance footage for possible sightings of Cavalcante.

“Danelo Cavalcante is considered an extremely dangerous man,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “Please remain vigilant in assisting with this search.

“If you see this person, don’t approach them. Call 911 immediately.”

It remains unclear how Cavalcante got to the United States Immigration officials told Fox News Digital He was “not inspected or approved by a US immigration officer.”

“Following his arrest in the United States, ICE became aware of his unlawful presence and an ICE prison sentence was filed against Souza Cavalcante,” an agency spokesman said.

“ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) from the ERO Philadelphia Field Office are assisting local, state and federal partners in the search for Souza Cavalcante.”

Pennsylvania police officers and the US Marshals Service are offering a $10,000 reward for Cavalcante.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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