Last Thursday, 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante, convicted of murder, escaped from Chester County Prison. Footage was recently released by the Chester County Police of Cavalcante escaping by “crab-walking” up the walls of the jail yard and out of sight of the camera.
The footage shows Cavalcante placing his arms on one wall and his legs on the opposite wall, giving himself enough stability to “crab-walk” up the wall. After Cavalcante made his way up the walls, over the barbed wire, and jumped from the roof to freedom, prison guards did not notice the breakout for an entire hour until a headcount was conducted and they were one inmate short. This jailbreak comes just months after the first escape from Chester County Prison in May.
This past May, another inmate took the same route out of the prison as Cavalcante, scaling the walls and jumping from the roof. The inmate in May was caught and returned to the prison within minutes of the escape after a tower guard spotted him and sounded the alarm. After that incident, the prison brought in a consultant to assess areas that could be reinforced to avoid escapes. They added barbed wire to the tops of the walls in the yard, where Cavalcante escaped.
The warden of Chester County Prison, Howard Holland, told reporters that the prison is now considering more precautionary steps such as caging the top of the prison yard and adding more guards to the yard during recreation times, despite the fact that the prison was fully staffed when the escape occurred. The tower guard that was on duty at the time of Cavalcante’s escape has also been put on leave for the duration of the investigation.
Last month, Cavalcante was sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend in front of her children in 2021. According to prosecutors, Cavalcante murdered his ex, Deborah Brandao, in order to keep her from reporting him to the police for another murder in his home country of Brazil from 2017. After the murder of Brandao, Cavalcante was arrested in Virginia, where he was allegedly trying to get back to Brazil. Cavalcante escaped from Chester County Prison while waiting his transfer to state prison.
Two local school districts have closed for the week, as well as famous Longwood Gardens, to protect the public from the dangerous escaped inmate. The police have set up perimeters and search parties attempting to locate Cavalcante to no avail for the last 7 days. He has been spotted 6 times since his escape last Thursday. The most recent spotting came from a Longwood Gardens trail camera at 9:33 PM on Monday night, about 3 miles from the Chester County Prison. The surveillance footage shows Cavalcante walking through the garden in a hoodie carrying a duffel bag.
Police are still on the hunt for Cavalcante and are advising all residents to lock up their houses and vehicles and keep their eyes peeled, as they expect him to be looking to hijack a form of transportation.
The video footage of Cavalcante’s escape can be seen here, via the Chester County District Attorney’s Facebook page.