How Prison Escapee Danelo Cavalcante Was Captured

Thermal heat technology, a US Border Patrol dog were key
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2023 10:20 AM CDT
How Prison Escapee Danelo Cavalcante Was Captured
Law enforcement agents stand by an armored vehicle with Danelo Souza Cavalcante inside at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks at Avondal, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.   (WPI via AP)

The hunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante in Pennsylvania came to a close on Wednesday morning, with Chester County authorities announcing his capture in a broadcast radio call made at 8:18am. "I'm proud to announce the subject is in custody. Repeating, subject is in custody," said an official. Pennsylvania State Police's Lt. Col. George Bivens provided details of the capture in a morning news conference. He said an aircraft using thermal heat technology registered a heat signal around 1am and tracked it, until lightning forced it to turn back. Tactical teams on the ground secured the area until the aircraft resumed its tracking.

Just after 8am, tactical teams "converged upon the heat source in a wooded area west of PA 100," NBC News reports. "Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that occurred," Bivens said. "He began to crawl through thick underbrush, taking his rifle with him." A dog belonging to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit at the scene ended up impeding his escape. "I think the canine played a large role in him not being able to utilize that firearm," Bivens said, per PennLive.

"He resisted but was taken into custody, and no one was injured," said Bivens, per NBC, though he added that Cavalcante himself did sustain a minor dog bite to the scalp, reports the AP. No shots were fired. The attorney general's office said Cavalcante will be arraigned on a felony escape charge; the 34-year-old was serving a life sentence at the time of his prison escape, during which he scaled a pair of parallel walls to access the roof of Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township. The prison tower guard who was on duty at the time has since been fired. An 18-year veteran of the job, he reportedly had a cellphone in the tower with him in violation of prison rules. (His mom gave an interview just prior to his capture.)

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