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US man convicted of killing his girlfriend and escaped Pennsylvania jail by crab-walking on wall arrested

Law enforcement’s big break came overnight as a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Danelo Souza Cavalcante’s heat signal, allowing teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Pennsylvania Published on: September 14, 2023 11:46 IST
Murder convict Danelo Cavalcante
Image Source : AP Murder convict Danelo Cavalcante

 A murderer who brazenly escaped from a Pennsylvania jail was captured on Wednesday in the woods by a team of tactical officers, bringing an end to an intensive search that terrified residents as the fugitive broke into homes for food, changed his appearance and stole a van and rifle during two weeks on the run.

Law enforcement’s big break came overnight as a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Danelo Souza Cavalcante’s heat signal, allowing teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.

“They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference. “Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred.”

Still armed with the rifle he stole from a homeowner’s garage, the fugitive tried to escape by crawling through the underbrush. But a search dog subdued him, Bivens said, adding that he continued to resist as he was taken into custody after 8 a.m.

How Cavalcante was arrested?

Cavalcante, 34, was bitten on the scalp and suffered a minor wound, Bivens said. A dog also latched onto his thigh, Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark told The Associated Press, “at which time, Cavalcante submitted.”

“I think he was in pain at that point,” Clark said. “He was probably in excruciating pain.” Aerial news footage showed an officer wiping Cavalcante’s bloody head and face with a towel.

No shots were fired. About two dozen officers in tactical gear posed for a group photo with Cavalcante, drawing criticism from policing reform advocates and some members of the public who called it inappropriate.
“Our nightmare is finally over, and the good guys won,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.

Cavalcante was taken to a nearby state police barracks in an armoured vehicle surrounded by a convoy with lights flashing and sirens blaring as it travelled down the highway. Two police helicopters followed above.

Some residents watched the convoy pass. Kathleen Brady, who lives near where Cavalcante stole the gun Monday night, did so as she and her young daughter returned home after staying elsewhere Tuesday night.
“The streets are quiet once again. There were no checkpoints. The sun is coming out. The heat has dropped,” Brady said, describing the community’s elation. “Poetic justice, and justice, all at the same time.”

Who is Cavalcante? 

Cavalcante was arraigned at the Avondale barracks on an escape charge, according to the office of Judge Matthew Seavey. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 27. He was led out with his hands and bare feet shackled, wearing what appeared to be a hospital gown. Cavalcante was driven to a state prison outside Philadelphia to continue serving the life sentence he received last month for killing his ex-girlfriend.

The endgame for Cavalcante unfolded in southeastern Pennsylvania just beyond Philadelphia’s heavily populated western suburbs, in an area of woods, rolling farmland and a county park. Police brought in hundreds of law enforcement personnel with dogs, armoured carriers, horses and helicopters that circled overhead.

The long search led to school closures right at the start of the academic year, warnings for homeowners to lock their doors and blocked roads over the busy Labor Day weekend. Overnight into Wednesday, heavily armed officers searched through downpours and thunder.

A Drug Enforcement Administration plane picked up Cavalcante’s heat signature around 1 a.m., but the storms grounded the aircraft for a time, delaying his capture by several hours, Bivens said. Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County jail in southeastern Pennsylvania on Aug. 31 by crab-walking up between two walls that were topped with razor wire, then jumping from the roof.

(With inputs from AP)

Also Read: US cop laughs over death of Indian student killed by police patrol car, probe ordered | WATCH

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