Spot where Danelo Cavalcante escaped onto prison roof covered with metal mesh, officials say

Officials from Chester County Prison shared photos of improvements that were made to areas where two inmates, including Danelo Cavalcante, managed to escape.

The photos were shown by Chester County Prison Acting Warden Howard Holland at Monday night's town hall meeting about Cavalcante's escape and manhunt.

Cavalcante, who was served a life sentence for brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend, was recaptured last Wednesday following an exhaustive two-week-long manhunt.

In video of his Aug. 31 escape, the 5-foot-5 Cavalcante wedges himself between the walls of a narrow corridor in exercise yard five and climbs upwards onto the roof.

Prison officials said Cavalcante then crossed through razor wire that was put in place after another inmate - Igor Bolte - escaped from the exercise yard six last May.

The prison guard who was on duty when Cavalcante made his acrobatic escape has since been fired, according to officials.


One photo shared Monday shows new metal mesh blocking the area where Cavalcante managed to escape onto the roof. Other photos show bushels of razor wire.

Holland said Monday that there are plans to fully enclose the prison exercise yard and add motion cameras along the prison's roofline.

An additional guard will monitor the areas where Cavalcante and Bolte escaped, according to Holland, and a drone operation will be used for additional surveillance.

"I am confident that we mitigated the circumstances in which Cavalcante and Bolte escaped, but I'm here to tell you that these individuals inside have nothing else to do than to plan and thwart our effort," Holland told FOX 29.

Authorities said Cavalcante eluded law enforcement agents by only moving at night, and surveyed police search perimeters to know when it was safe to escape. He hid underneath thick underbrush and search parties unsuspectingly came within 7 yards of him on three occasions, according to officials.

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While on the run, authorities say Cavalcante used stream water and a stolen watermelon for nourishment. He traveled lightly, according to authorities, carrying a backpack that authorities later found containing a razor that he used to shave and alter his appearance.

The manhunt heated up in the countryside town of East Nantmeal, where Cavalcante ditched the stolen van and was spotted near a wood line by a woman who alerted police. That same night, Cavalcante, desperate for a hiding spot, entered an unlocked garage where he stole a .22 caliber rifle before encountering a homeowner who fired several shots but missed the fugitive as he fled. 

Pennsylvania State Police established and refined search perimeters as their manhunt shifted to East Nantmeal Township. Authorities got a bead on Cavalcante using thermal imaging technology aboard a fixed wing aircraft and tracked him to a weak hiding spot near a tractor supply business Thursday morning where a mix of heavily armed Boarder Patrol Agents and Pennsylvania State Police Troopers surrounded and captured the fugitive.

Cavalcante was arraigned at the Avondale barracks on an escape charge, according to the office of Judge Matthew Seavey. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 27. He was led out with his hands and bare feet shackled, wearing what appeared to be a hospital gown. Cavalcante was driven to a state prison outside Philadelphia to continue serving the life sentence he received last month for killing his ex-girlfriend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report