Danelo Cavalcante search: Former FBI agent analyzes search for Chester County Prison escapee

There is a $25,000 reward in the search for Danelo Cavalcante who broke out of the Pennsylvania prison on Aug. 31.

ByChad Pradelli and Cheryl Mettendorf WPVI logo
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Former FBI agent analyzes manhunt for convicted killer
Danelo Cavalcante search: Former FBI agent analyzes search for Chester County Prison escapee

EAST NANTMEAL TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante is now in its 12th day, and investigators are now changing their tactics to track him down.

On Monday, Pennsylvania State Police said they believe he is still in the area and are using increased manpower to canvass Chester County.

Investigators said they will now move from what they call a "containment model" to one that uses a variety of resources.

They said they don't think he has the resources to get out of Pennsylvania.

SEE ALSO: Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante still believed to be in Chester County; reward now $25,000

Escaped murderer still believed to be in Chester Co.; reward now $25k

Three hundred officers will now be in service to scour the area.

In addition, the reward for information has been increased to $25,000.

Law enforcement said they'll continue the hunt for Cavalcante, which is now focused in East Nantmeal Township.

It comes after the diminutive 34-year-old pierced the perimeter set up by authorities in Kennett Square over the weekend.

"We don't have a refined search area at this point," said Lt. Col George Bivens with Pennsylvania State Police. "We are considering and certainly acting on and investigating any piece of information or tips that we received. So we follow those pieces of the information."

Brad Garratt is a former special agent with the FBI. He said until state police get sightings or tips in real time about Cavalcante's whereabouts, he'll likely elude capture.

Timeline of manhunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante

"So what they've done is to go to plan B, which is maybe more like traditional fugitive investigations, where you don't have perimeters," he said.

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Garrett called the 12 days on the run surprising but said eventually Cavalcante would make a mistake.

"The piece of this case that seems to maybe get overlooked was the fact that this guy may well have experience in eluding law enforcement in either a jungle or forest type of area," he said.

How Cavalcante broke law enforcement's perimeter is unclear. State police said they're never 100% secure.

Bivens said an elaborate system of old underground tunnels and drainage ditches may have been a vulnerability.

State police said the inmate doesn't appear to be getting help from old acquaintances. His sister is in custody and is expected to be deported for overstaying her visa.

So investigators believe Cavalcante is desperate, has little to no money, but is dangerous.

"So what will catch this guy now is sort of everyday fugitive searching, which involves phones, which involves associates, which involves the latest movements you have in the direction he was traveling," said Garratt.

These images captured by a doorbell camera shows Danelo Cavalcante on the night of Sept. 9, 2023 in East Pikeland Twp., Pennsylvania
Pa. State Police