Manhunt continues for convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante after Chester County prison escape

The search for an "extremely dangerous" convicted murderer intensifies a day after authorities say the prisoner escaped their custody, and U.S. Marshals joined the manhunt.

Danelo Cavalcante, 34, was able to get past guards at Chester County Prison just before 9 a.m. Thursday morning, authorities say. He was not being transported at the time, officials say.

He’s been described as five-feet tall, 120 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a white tee shirt and gray shorts. He was last seen walking on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township around 9:40 a.m.


On Friday, police said a massive manhunt continues as "hundreds of officers using every means available," including helicopters and search dogs, to search any route out of Chester County, including railways and creeks.

He is believed to still be at large in the Chester County area, possibly hiding nearby, the DA's office said during a press conference Friday.

Officials also stated the fugitive could be headed south, however, they do not believe he is being assisted by anyone at this time.

Residents are being urged not to approach the escapee if he is seen in the area due to his "extremely dangerous" nature.

Cavalcante was recently convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Deborah Brandao – his former girlfriend.

Authorities have said Brandao was fatally stabbed by Cavalcante in front of her two young children back in April 2021 in Schuylkill Township, Pennsylvania. Cavalcante fled to Virginia after the stabbing where he was later captured by Virginia State Police. 

Cavalcante was sentenced to life in prison for Brandao's murder last week, and authorities say he is also wanted for a 2017 murder in Brazil.

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Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan released a statement Thursday afternoon in which she referred to Cavalcante as an ‘extremely dangerous man.'

"They have deployed K-9 units, drones and helicopter in this manhunt," Ryan stated. "If you see him, do not approach him. We are asking please to contact 911. He is considered an extremely dangerous man."

Residents within a six-mile radius were notified of the prison break. Nearby West Chester University sent an alert to students.

"It was honestly pretty shocking and I was just in class and I got the text like everyone," stated student Braeden Middleton. "No one knows what to do in this situation, so it's just one of those stay inside if you can."

University officials canceled all remaining Chester County classes Friday "out of an abundance of caution."

A joint $10,000 reward is being offered by Chester County and the United States Marshals Service for anyone with information that leads to Cavalcante's capture. Residents are also being asked to check surveillance cameras and any signs of the fugitive on their property.