Timeline and Interactive Map: The hunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante

From his escape on Aug. 31 to his capture two weeks later, here's the timeline of the manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Timeline: The manhunt and capture of escaped Pa. prisoner
Timeline: The manhunt and capture of escaped Pa. prisoner

CHESTER CO., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police in Pennsylvania have captured a convicted murderer who escaped from the Chester County Prison in late August.

Danelo Cavalcante, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder in August for fatally stabbing his former girlfriend in 2021.

Days after being sentenced, he broke out of the Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township, where he was waiting to be transferred to a state correctional institution -- by copying a method another inmate used to escape from the prison weeks prior, officials said.

Cavalcante is also wanted for a homicide charge in his native country of Brazil, authorities said.

He was captured by police on the morning of Wednesday, September 13.

Here's a look at major developments in the massive manhunt leading up to and since his August 31 escape.

May 19

Inmate Igor Vidra Bolte breaks out of Chester County Prison by scaling a wall in an exercise yard to gain access to the roof, according to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News. Bolte, who later told authorities he was a rock climber, then gets out of the prison by climbing down from the roof by the visitors' entrance where there is less security and running off the grounds on the south side of the prison, according to the complaint.

A tower officer who observed Bolte leaving the yard area contacts control immediately, and the inmate is caught within 5 minutes of escaping, authorities said.

Aug. 16

Cavalcante is convicted of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing his former girlfriend 38 times in front of her two young children in 2021, officials said.

Aug. 22

Cavalcante is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Aug. 30

Howard Holland is named the acting warden of the Chester County Prison, a day after the prison board accepted the resignation of longtime warden Ronald Phillips.

Aug. 31

Cavalcante escapes from the prison at 8:51 a.m. by "crab walking" up a wall, pushing his way through razor wire installed after Bolte's escape, running across the prison roof and scaling more razor wire, before making his getaway, according to Holland. The tower officer on duty at the time does not observe nor report the escape, according to Holland.

Stunning video shows how convicted murderer escaped Chester Co. Prison

Cavalcante is first noticed missing about an hour later, after inmates are brought back in from the exercise yard. The prison is locked down at 9:50 a.m. and a public escape siren is sounded at 10:01 a.m., according to Holland.

Chester County Commissioners and the U.S. Marshals are offering a combined $10,000 reward in the case.

Sept. 2

Cavalcante is recorded around 1:43 a.m. on a residential Ring doorbell camera on the 1800 block of Lenape Road in Pocopson Township, about 1.5 miles from the prison, officials say. He is wearing a white T-shirt, white sneakers and a backpack.

Sept. 4

Cavalcante is recorded twice on a private trail camera set up at Longwood Gardens, a sprawling horticulture attraction about 5 miles southwest of the prison -- first at 8:21 p.m. walking north in the gardens and then by the same camera at 9:33 p.m. walking south -- according to Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations for the Pennsylvania State Police. He is wearing a backpack, a duffel sling-type pack and a hooded sweatshirt.

Sept. 7

The total reward for information that leads to the capture of Cavalcante increases to $20,000.

The corrections officer who was on duty in the guard tower when Cavalcante escaped is fired, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office.

Sept. 9

Cavalcante allegedly steals a white Ford work van from Baily's Dairy, about three-fourths of a mile from the perimeter around Longwood Gardens, according to Bivens.

At 9:52 p.m., he is captured on a video doorbell camera in East Pikeland Township, more than 20 miles from Longwood Gardens, at a residence that belongs to a man who once worked with Cavalcante, according to Bivens.

The previously bearded fugitive is now clean-shaven and wearing a green hooded sweatshirt over a dark baseball hat, and is seen driving the white Ford van. The former colleague is not home but speaks with Cavalcante via the video doorbell, according to Bivens.

Around 10:07 p.m., Cavalcante shows up at another former work colleague's home in nearby Phoenixville, according to Bivens. That person is not home but a friend sees Cavalcante and calls the former work colleague, according to Bivens.

Doorbell images show escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante has changed appearance and fled search area

Sept. 10

The stolen van is found abandoned with no fuel at 10:40 a.m. in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, according to Bivens.

Sept. 11

Around 10 p.m., a shirtless Cavalcante allegedly steals a .22-caliber rifle with a scope and flashlight from a resident's garage on Coventryville Road in East Nantmeal Township, according to police. The homeowner, who is in the garage at the time, fires several shots at Cavalcante with a pistol, but the fugitive flees and is not believed to be harmed, according to Bivens.

Cavalcante's prison shoes are recovered and another resident reports a pair of work boots were stolen from her porch, according to Bivens.

The reward for information leading to Cavalcante's capture increases to $25,000.

Sept. 12

Upward of 500 law enforcement are engaged in securing a perimeter, which is about 3 miles east to west and about 2.5 miles north to south and includes PA 23 to the north, PA 100 to the east, Fairview and Nantmeal Mill roads to the south and Iron Bridge and County Park roads to the west in Chester County, according to Bivens.

Sept. 13

Danelo Cavalcante is taken into custody around 8 a.m. after his heat signature was spotted by an aircraft overnight.

Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante is now in police custody following an extensive 14-day search throughout Chester County, Pennsylvania State Police said.
Photos obtained by 6abc show Danelo Cavalcante in the moments after he was taken into custody.