The Manhunt for Danilo Cavalcante

The Manhunt for Danilo Cavalcante

Convicted murderer Danilo Cavalcante who escaped from Chester County Prison on August 31, 2023 was taken into custody, ending a two-week-long search across Chester County. Cavalcante fled Brazil in 2018 after allegedly shooting a man and fatally stabbing his former girlfriend thirty-eight times in 2021 in front of her two children (aged 3 and 7 at the time). He was sentenced to life in prison in August 2023. Just days later, he escaped from the Chester County Prison by “crab walking” up a prison yard wall, passing over layers of razor wire. The corrections officer who failed to notice Calvacante’s escape was eventually fired (CBS).

The search for Cavalcante covered 759 square miles across Chester County. Early in the morning on Saturday, September 2, Cavalcante was sighted in Pocopson Township and as a precaution, Longwood Gardens was closed. That Monday, police said there had been four credible sightings of Cavalcante. He was seen on surveillance cameras at Longwood Gardens twice on Monday night. He stole a van from a nearby dairy farm and managed to drive outside the heavily patrolled search area. He was spotted on a Ring doorbell camera which revealed that he had changed his appearance. He then stole a loaded firearm, left out in an open garage. The  owner of the gun saw him and fired shots but Cavalcante escaped unharmed with a .22 caliber rifle.

Shortly after 12 a.m. on Wednesday September 13, a burglar alarm went off at a home in South Coventry Township. That alarm was investigated but Cavalcante was not found. Tactical teams searched this area and around 8 a.m, found Cavalcante lying on top of the rifle he had stolen. Caught by surprise, Cavalcante attempted to flee by crawling with the rifle in hand. A police dog was released and bit him, preventing him from using the rifle, and police then took him into custody (CNN). This incident, which became national news, impacted members of the student community here, as follows: 

Student Testimonials:

“My road was shut down for a couple weeks. I had to go through multiple checkpoints to leave my neighborhood each day. One day when they had him surrounded I was close enough to hear the surrender message. One night I spent the night at my grandparents because I couldn’t sleep through the constant helicopter noise. Overall, I was disappointed with law enforcement’s communication. My family got most of our updates, in case we had to shelter in place, from a “crime chaser” on Twitter. I am very happy that I can live peacefully again!”


“He was in the backyard of a friend of mine who used to go to this school.”


“My friend from dance saw the guy on her porch the night after he escaped. She is on the edge of a neighborhood in Pocopson and so he went up onto the porch but went back into the woods when he saw them looking at him. They called the police and the military came the next morning. Many others from dance also had problems with managing the roads being closed and one boy had to switch his route so many times that he ended up on a road with several SWAT teams that were blocking the road and had snipers near them.”

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