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September 11, 2023

As Danelo Cavalcante manhunt moves north, Longwood Gardens to reopen

The botanical garden has been closed since Thursday after the convicted killer was spotted on the property. Authorities believed he was in East Nantmeal Township on Sunday night

Investigations Prison Escape
danelo-cavelcante-ring-cam.jpg @PAStatePolice/X (FORMERLY TWITTER)

Escaped convicted was captured on doorbell security camera footage on Saturday sporting a newly clean-shaven look and change of clothes. Authorities shifted their focus north near Phoenixville over the weekend after Cavalcante reportedly left the original search perimeter.

Longwood Gardens will reopen this week after spending several days on lockdown following the escape of convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante, who was spotted at the botanical garden multiple times.

LATEST: Convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante captured, ending the 13-day manhunt for escaped Chester County prisoner

Cavalcante was caught on a trail camera as he traveled on foot through the Gardens on Monday, Sept. 4. Video stills showed the fugitive carrying two bags and wearing a hooded sweatshirt. On Thursday, another possible sighting prompted the Gardens to close until further notice.

Longwood Gardens will open Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., according to a statement posted on its website. The manhunt for Cavalcante has shifted north after he slipped out of the initial search perimeter. As of Monday morning, there was still no word on the whereabouts of the convicted killer, even after authorities said they believed to have him "cornered" in East Nantmeal Township on Sunday evening. 

Over the weekend, Cavalcante was seen in northern Chester County outside Phoenixville, nearly 25 miles away from Chester County Prison. He escaped Aug. 31. Cavalcante's sister was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and now faces possible deportation, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said in a press briefing on Sunday. 

Cavalcante, 34, stole a refrigerated van from a dairy farm and tried to contact former coworkers, Pennsylvania state police said. He was captured on a Ring doorbell camera Saturday night sporting a clean-shaven appearance and a change of clothes

On Sunday, authorities intensified the focus of their search for Cavalcante in East Nantmeal Township in Chester County, where he was seen after abandoning the white van he had stolen a day earlier. The van was recovered by police on Sunday afternoon with the keys in the ignition. 

Cavalcante was convicted of murder in August for fatally stabbing his girlfriend Deborah Brandao in front of her children in 2021. Cavalcante was sentenced to life in prison for the killing. He was being held at the county prison before his transfer to a state prison when it was discovered he escaped.

Last week, authorities released a video of Cavalcante's escape from Chester County Prison, which shows him strategically "crab-walking" between two walls using his arms and legs before disappearing from the camera's view. Cavalcante then squeezed through razor wire and escaped off a roof of the facility, authorities said. 

During his trial, the prosecution said Cavalcante stabbed Brandao because she had threatened to go to police with information about his involvement in a homicide in Brazil nearly six years ago.

Brazilian law enforcement said Cavalcante fatally shot a man in November 2017 after a dispute about "an alleged debt related to the repair of a vehicle," and there has been a warrant for his arrest since June 2018.

The hunt for Cavalcante entered its 12th day Monday. More than 400 people have been searching for Cavalcante, including local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as armed civilians looking to help apprehend him. There is a $20,000 reward being offered for information leading to Cavalcante's arrest.

Anyone with information on Cavalcante's whereabouts can call 911 or state police tip line at (717) 562-2987.