The manhunt for fugitive murderer Danelo Cavalcante widened after he was spotted at the home of former co-workers, more than 20 miles from the previously designated search area, officials said.
The search for Cavalcante entered its 12th day Monday, after several sightings over the weekend and the discovery of a van he had stolen and abandoned outside the area searched by hundreds of officers.
The 34-year-old was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and was awaiting transfer to the Chester County Jail in Pennsylvania when he escaped by climbing a wall on August 31.
The police had concentrated their searches in the neighboring area, where he had been spotted several times last week. But on Saturday, a clean-shaven Cavalcante was spotted outside a former co-worker’s house on a doorbell camera in East Pikeland Township, before being spotted outside another former co-worker’s house in the city neighboring Phoenixville.
The homes are both outside the perimeter police initially focused on, raising questions about how Cavalcante evaded the hundreds of officers patrolling the area.
The manhunt for fugitive murderer Danelo Cavalcante has expanded after several sightings over the weekend. He is seen outside the home of a former colleague
On Sunday, police found a 2020 Ford Transit van Cavalcante in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township – well outside the previous search area.
State Police Lt. George Bivens vowed to “aggressively continue” the search with the help of federal, state, county and local resources and expressed confidence the fugitive would eventually be captured .
“It’s a minor setback,” he said. “We will have it, it’s a matter of time.”
On Sunday, police discovered a 2020 Ford Transit van Cavalcante had been stolen from a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, outside the previous search area. Cavalcante had picked it up from Baily’s Dairy based in West Chester, near the prison.
Baily Dairy said on its Facebook page that the delivery van was stolen between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday “while we were still working here.”
Bivens said he believed Cavalcante abandoned the vehicle, at least in part because he was low on fuel. As law enforcement searched the immediate area for signs of his presence, authorities feared he was trying to obtain another vehicle or had already done so.
“We are obviously very concerned that Cavalcante has attempted or will attempt to steal another vehicle to facilitate his escape,” Bivens said. “This most recent incident reminds us that he will take advantage of any opportunity to obtain the items he needs.”
The theft went unnoticed for hours, and in the meantime, Cavalcante, 34, traveled more than 20 miles northeast to East Pikeland Township and Phoenixville. Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, he went to the home of a person he had worked with several years ago in East Pikeland Township and asked to meet him, police said.
Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 homicide case in his native Brazil.
The 34-year-old was serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and escaped from the Chester County Jail on August 31.
Cavalcante crab walks to freedom at the Chester County Jail on August 31
The homeowner, who was having dinner with family and did not respond, called police after returning home and viewing doorbell video. Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, police said, Cavalcante went to the Phoenixville-area home of another former work associate who was not home, police said.
Cavalcante, originally from Brazil, was seen on a surveillance camera outside looking at the camera before “crabbing” between two walls, scaling a fence and jumping over barbed wire during the daring escape which took place in broad daylight from the Chester County Jail, on August 31.
Before this weekend, there were repeated sightings of the “extremely dangerous” killer in the 759-square-mile search area around the prison.
On Saturday, Cavalcante was seen wearing a black baseball-style cap, a green hooded sweatshirt, green prison pants and white shoes as he appeared to smirk at the doorbell camera at his ex’s house colleague.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania prison guard who neither saw nor reported the escape was fired. Prison officials told CNN the corrections officer was an 18-year veteran of the prison.
Hundreds of officers have been deployed and are taking part in a massive manhunt as the search for the fugitive intensifies.
Helicopters, drones and dogs are being carried out in ground and aerial searches as authorities face extreme heat, high humidity and a harsh landscape.
Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said Friday that they “attracted more people all night last night with additional help from other agencies, our own agency.”
“As we speak, we have somewhere north of 350, close to 400 people working on this project.”
Police officers warned local residents that Cavalcante was extremely dangerous and urged them to lock their doors. Authorities have now increased the reward for information to $20,000.
Several schools closed their doors and terrified residents remained barricaded in their homes.
The first sighting of Cavalcante occurred when he was spotted at 1:43 a.m. Sept. 2 in the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pocopson Township, about 1.5 miles from the Chester County Jail.
He was later seen on surveillance video in the early hours of September 2 wearing a white T-shirt and white sneakers with a backpack he had mysteriously obtained.
Before this weekend, the “extremely dangerous” killer was seen multiple times in the 759-square-mile search area around the prison.
Police warned residents that Cavalcante was extremely dangerous and urged them to lock their doors.
The criminal was then allegedly seen again that night in the same area by a Pocopson Township resident inside his home Friday at 11:45 p.m. He “turned the lights” on the homeowner before stealing groceries , then left.
A trail camera recorded Cavalcante walking through the woods twice in an hour late Monday, September 4.
On Tuesday night, September 5, another resident confirmed a sighting of Cavalcante near Chandler Road in the Pennsbury area who saw the prisoner in a creek bed near his home.
The escaped prisoner was later spotted near Longwood Gardens on September 7 around noon, near Longwood Gardens. He was seen running in a wooded area by a resident and Longwood Gardens was closed early as law enforcement searched for Cavalcante.
Police confirmed a new sighting of the criminal on Thursday evening, September 7, but did not provide details.
There may have been a ninth sighting of the escaped prisoner on the morning of Friday September 8 in connection with the burglary of a house in Kennett Square.
Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 homicide case in his native Brazil. Authorities believe he was trying to flee to Mexico to return to Brazil after being captured in Virginia for Brandão’s murder.
Police released recordings of the prisoner’s mother speaking in Portuguese from helicopters flying over the search area to facilitate his peaceful surrender. They have already warned that the fugitive could try to flee to Brazil.