Authorities say a fugitive killer who has eluded capture since escaping from a southeastern Pennsylvania prison a week and a half ago slipped from the search area, changed his appearance, stole a dairy delivery van and abandoned it. . miles away and remained on the run.
Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said Sunday that Danelo Souza Cavalcante stole the unlocked van with the keys inside sometime Saturday night about three-quarters of a mile from the northern perimeter of the search area where hundreds of law enforcement officers had been looking for him.
Baily's Dairy said on its Facebook page that the delivery van was stolen between 7pm and 10pm on Saturday "while we were still here working".
The theft went unnoticed for hours, and in the meantime, Cavalcante, 34, traveled more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast to East Pikeland Township and Phoenixville. Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, he went to the East Pikeland Township home of a person he had worked with several years ago and asked to meet him, police said.
The homeowner, who was having dinner with his family and did not respond, called police after returning home and reviewing the doorbell video. Saturday, police said, Cavalcante went to the Phoenixville-area home of another former co-worker, who was not home, police said.
Doorbell video footage showed Cavalcante now clean-shaven and wearing a yellow or green hoodie, black baseball cap, green prison pants and white shoes, police said. The stolen pickup truck was found at 10:40 a.m. Sunday in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Phoenixville.
Bivens said he believed Cavalcante abandoned the vehicle, at least in part, because it was low on fuel. While law enforcement searched the immediate area for any sign of him, authorities were concerned that he was trying to obtain another vehicle or had already done so.
“I have no stolen vehicle report; I anticipate that we will,” she said.
Bivens expressed confidence that the fugitive would eventually be recaptured and vowed to “aggressively continue” the search with the assistance of federal, state, county and local resources.
"This is a minor setback," he said. “We will catch him, it is a matter of time”
Cavalcante, 34, escaped from Chester County Prison while awaiting transfer to state prison on Aug. 31 after being sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend in 2021. Prosecutors say he wanted to prevent her from told the police that they were looking for him in a killing in his country of origin, Brazil.
On Saturday, police had reported two more confirmed sightings of Cavalcante within the search area around Longwood Gardens botanical park, the focus of the search in recent days. Bivens said Friday that about 400 people were involved in the search, including tactical teams, tracking dogs and officers on horseback and in planes.
Despite massive searches, Bivens said the area had some underground tunnels and “very large drainage ditches” that were impossible to completely secure. Police had planned to use about 600 troops on Monday for “a massive sweep” of the search area, he said.
Authorities have described Cavalcante as extremely dangerous. Police are asking anyone with information to call 911. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture.
Authorities announced Friday the firing of the prison tower guard who was on duty when Cavalcante scaled a wall crab-walking from the recreation yard, climbed over barbed wire, ran across a roof and jumped to the ground. . His escape went unnoticed for more than an hour until guards did a head count.
The escape and search for Cavalcante attracted international attention and became big news in Brazil, where prosecutors in the state of Tocantins say he is accused of “qualified double homicide” for the murder of Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reis in Figueirópolis in 2017. , which they allege was due to a debt. the victim owed him in connection with the repair of a vehicle.