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"Extremely Dangerous" Convicted Murderer Escapes Pennsylvania Prison, Sparking Hunt and Reward

Danelo Cavalcante, who was convicted of first-degree murder in August for fatally stabbing his former girlfriend in 2021, broke out of Chester County Prison Thursday morning.

By Gina Salamone
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An "extremely dangerous man" has escaped from a Pennsylvania prison, prompting a multi-county search and a $10,000 reward offering for information leading to his capture, according to officials. 

Danelo Cavalcante — who was convicted of first-degree murder on August 16 for fatally stabbing his 33-year-old former girlfriend in April of 2021 — broke out of Chester County Prison at around 8:50 a.m. on Thursday, the Chester County District Attorney announced.

The inmate had been sentenced to life in prison without parole last week for that crime. A native of Brazil, he's also wanted in the South American country for a 2017 murder there.

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Officials searched the prison located in Pocopson Township and the areas around it Thursday and were still trying to track him down Friday. 

"The search for prison escapee Danelo Cavalcante continues with detectives and hundreds of police officers using every means available, including search helicopters and dogs," the Chester County District Attorney's office said in a Friday update

A mugshot and security photo of Danelo Cavalcante

"We are following up on every lead," the DA's office added. "There is a $10,000 reward, posted by the Chester County Commissioners and the U.S. Marshals, for any information that leads to the capture of Cavalcante."

Who is Danelo Cavalcante?

Cavalcante, who is 34, is described as light-skinned, 5-foot and 120 pounds, with shaggy black curly hair and brown eyes. He can speak Portuguese and Spanish fluently and "some English," according to the DA's office. 

“Danelo Cavalcante is considered an extremely dangerous man," Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a statement Thursday. "We are asking for the public’s help in locating him."

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He was last spotted walking on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township around 9:40 a.m. on Thursday wearing a white T-shirt, gray shorts, and white sneakers.

"Originally, we were told he was wearing green issued pants from the prison, and then somehow was wearing gray shorts," Ryan said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. She added at the press conference that the victim's family had been notified of Cavalcante's escape.

A security camera photo of Danelo Cavalcante

"Law enforcement is doing everything now to locate him," Ryan said in a written statement. "If you see this individual, do not approach him. Call 911 immediately.”

Ryan said Thursday on CNN Tonight that Cavalcante is “really good at hiding from law enforcement, and we believe that he’ll do anything in his power to attempt to evade us now.”

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The DA's office said that residents within a six-mile radius of the prison were notified of the inmate escape. "Chester County Detectives and the Pennsylvania State Police are conducting a thorough county-wide search, and prison officials are conducting an internal investigation," the office added. 

Anyone with any information about where Cavalcante currently is or who saw anything involving his escape is asked to call 911 or the U.S. Marshals tipline at 1-877-WANTED2 (1-877-926-8332) immediately.  

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