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Convicted Murderer Escaped Pennsylvania Prison Using Similar Method as Inmate Who Broke Out of Same Facility in May

Danelo Cavalcante's roof-exit strategy mirrored one used by Igor Bolte, who escaped the facility on May 19 but was caught the same day, according to Howard Holland, acting warden of Chester County Prison.

By Gina Salamone
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The convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison last Thursday did so using a method "similar" to the way another inmate at the same facility used to break out last May.

Danelo Cavalcante made it out of Chester County Prison last Thursday by climbing a wall in an exercise yard and then over razor wire, officials announced at a Wednesday press conference. The roof-exit strategy mirrored one used by Igor Bolte, who escaped the facility on May 19 but was caught the same day, according to Howard Holland, acting warden of Chester County Prison.

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Cavalcante, a native of Brazil, was found guilty on August 16 of first-degree murder for the April 2021 fatal stabbing of his former girlfriend. He was given a life sentence without parole last week. He's also wanted in his home country for a 2017 murder.

Video of part of the escape was released Wednesday, which shows Cavalcante looking over his shoulder before placing his hands on one wall and his feet on an opposite wall in a confined section of the yard to climb up to the roof. Holland said improvements were made to the exercise yard to beef up security after Bolte's escape, which included adding razor wire. 

A mugshot and security photo of Danelo Cavalcante

Bolte's breakout "was similar to the methodology of the escape by Calvacante," Holland said at Wednesday's press conference. "And the escape by Igor Bolte allowed the prison to identify a deficiency in the exterior exercise yard where this escape occurred. This is also the same area ... where Calvacante was located prior to his escape.

"The exercise yard improvements undertaken after Bolte’s escape were intended to address the escape route from the yard to the roof area," Holland continued. "Security consultants were brought in and improvements were based on the consultant’s findings. ... The improvement consisted of additional razor wire being placed in the yard area at the wall where the escape occurred to block access to the roof.”

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Video of the escape was turned over to criminal investigators, Holland said, adding, "It does show that Cavalcante escaped at the same location as Igor Bolte, but for Calvacante, there was razor wire to contend with before reaching the roof.” 

Holland reiterated that it was determined by the prison's consultant that razor wire was sufficient to prevent future escapes. 

Officials updated the public on Tuesday as to search efforts, releasing photos of Cavalcante being spotted this week.

Stills of Danelo Cavalcante taken from trail camera footage.

"The fugitive has not changed his appearance," reads an update on the Chester County District Attorney's Facebook page. "Since the day of the escape, there have been several credible sightings of the fugitive, observed in the immediate areas surrounding Longwood Gardens and Pocopson Township. One additional sighting was reported on the evening of September 4, 2023, within that perimeter and a multiple-hours long search was conducted by law enforcement.

"On the morning of September 5, 2023, security at Longwood Gardens notified law enforcement that they had received trail camera footage that was taken on their property which showed an individual appearing to be Cavalcante," the update continued. "This area was just south of the original perimeter. Investigators confirmed it was Danelo Cavalcante, and he has a backpack, a duffle sling pack, and a hooded sweatshirt." 

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Cavalcante was seen in the trail camera footage walking north at 8:21 p.m. and then south though the same area at 9:33 p.m., authorities added. Based on that info, the manhunt has shifted from its original perimeter.

Multiple schools districts in the area were closed in light of the sightings. 

Police continue to ask locals lock their doors and check their cars and belongings, and to call 911 immediately if they think they spot Cavalcante. Authorities stressed that the convict has already gotten ahold of some clothing and other supplies and they want to minimize his chances of obtaining anything else. 

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