An intense and wide-ranging search is underway in Pennsylvania following the escape of an inmate who authorities consider “extremely dangerous.” The fugitive has been identified as Danelo Cavalcante, a native of Brazil.

Danelo Cavalcante

Here’s what we know about Cavalcante

The fugitive had been convicted of murder on August 16 for killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandão, 33, in 2021, and for this case he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. As reported by Deb Ryan, Chester County District Attorney, at a press conference on Friday, Cavalcante was arrested in Virginia while attempting to flee to his native country.

Cavalcante is also wanted for a 2017 murder case in Brazil, which led him to leave his home country. Following that crime, the man allegedly fled to Puerto Rico and then illegally entered the mainland United States, according to Robert Clark, deputy supervisor of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Authorities advised residents to keep their doors and cars locked, warning that Cavalcante is extremely dangerous.

While the search is ongoing, police are broadcasting via helicopters and patrol cars a message in Portuguese from the fugitive’s mother encouraging him to turn himself in, Clark, of the U.S. Marshals Service, told a news conference Monday.

“That’s him, that’s the guy who killed my mom.”

Brandao had filed a protection order for abuse against Cavalcante in December 2020, according to the fugitive’s probable cause affidavit: the order alleges he had a history of assaulting her and previously pointed a knife at her.

Brandao’s daughter, identified only as J.B. in the affidavit, witnessed her mother’s murder and was later interviewed by police, according to the affidavit.

The 7-year-old girl told police she was with her mother and younger brother when Cavalcante, identified by the daughter as Brandao’s ex-boyfriend, came to their home and, according to police, “said he was going to do something bad to their lives” and pulled two knives from a black bag behind his back.”

Cavalcante pulled Brandao’s hair, making her fall to the ground, got on top of her and began stabbing her, “saying he was going to kill her,” the 7-year-old told police.

The daughter said she was screaming and Cavalcante threw a rock at her, hitting her in the leg, police wrote in the affidavit.

She went to a neighbor’s house after her mother told her to get help, and the neighbor called 911; after looking out the window, the daughter saw Cavalcante drive away in a black car.

The girl was able to identify Cavalcante in a photograph, according to the probable cause affidavit, saying, “That’s him, that’s the guy who killed my mom. Please catch him and put him in jail.”

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