Murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured after a two-week manhunt.
Dog helps police subdue Cavalcante.
Cavalcante had been on the run since escaping from prison on August 31st.
Authorities report that Danelo Cavalcante, a murderer who escaped from a US jail two weeks ago, was apprehended by a law enforcement canine after a heat-sensing aircraft detected his presence.
On Wednesday, Cavalcante, aged 34, was captured in a wooded area in Pennsylvania while attempting to evade officers who had surrounded him.
Following his escape on August 31st, more than 500 officers were involved in the manhunt to locate him.
Cavalcante had been serving a life sentence for the 2021 murder of his ex-girlfriend in front of her two children, with the sentencing occurring just a week before his escape.
His escape involved maneuvering between two walls and scaling a razor-wire fence at Chester County Prison, located approximately 30 miles west of Philadelphia, where he was awaiting transfer to another facility.
The extensive two-week manhunt covered a significant area of the state and left residents of Chester County feeling uneasy.
Sightings of Cavalcante earlier in the search led police to advise residents to secure their doors and remain indoors.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro commended law enforcement for their “extraordinary work” and acknowledged the significant contribution of the public in Cavalcante’s capture.
He highlighted that Cavalcante was taken into custody without any shots being fired.
Police provided details of the operation, explaining that a search team, consisting of mounted patrols, K-9 units, and aircraft, combed the woods of South Coventry Township despite adverse weather conditions, including rain and thunderstorms.
A burglar alarm at a residence helped draw law enforcement closer to Cavalcante.
A Drug Enforcement Administration aircraft detected a heat signature on the ground at 01:00, but it had to depart due to the weather conditions.
Subsequently, a tactical team comprising approximately two dozen officers closed in on the heat source and successfully located Cavalcante four hours later.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt Colonel George Bivens told the news conference: “They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise.
“Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred. That did not stop him from trying to escape.
“He began to crawl through thick underbrush taking his [stolen] rifle with him as he went.”
A US Customs and Border Protection unit from Texas, with at least one dog, was part of the tactical team.
The dog, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois named Yoda, “subdued” Cavalcante as he tried to make his getaway, leaving him with a “minor bite wound”.
“He continued to resist but was forcibly taken into custody,” said Lt Col Bivens.
Cavalcante was left with “a scalp wound” and will be “medically assessed” before being taken to a prison facility, said officials.
He will appear in court on a felony escape charge shortly, Philadelphia’s attorney general said in a statement.
Media coverage includes video footage of Danelo Cavalcante, handcuffed and wearing a grimy Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt, as he is escorted to a heavily armored black police van.
A substantial group of officers, clad in camouflage uniforms, can be observed taking pictures with the captured individual before removing the hoodie and placing him inside the vehicle.
Lt. Col. Bivens expressed no concern about the officers taking the photograph.
“Those men and women work amazingly hard through some very trying circumstances. They’re proud of their work,” he told reporters.
Chester County’s three commissioners said in a joint statement that Cavalcante’s capture “ends the nightmare of the past two weeks”.
Officials have acknowledged significant security weaknesses at the prison, prompting immediate measures to enhance security, including the hiring of new security contractors.
Cavalcante’s escape mirrored a previous incident involving another inmate, Igor Bolte, in May.
The glaring security lapse at the prison, coupled with the fugitive’s ability to elude capture during a two-week manhunt involving officers equipped with night-vision goggles, dogs, drones, and aerial support, was an embarrassment for the authorities.
During his time on the run, Cavalcante attempted to contact acquaintances, including his sister, who did not assist him and was subsequently detained for an immigration violation.
Additionally, it was reported on Tuesday that the escaped murderer had entered an open garage in the area and made off with a .22 caliber rifle as the homeowner fired several shots in his direction.
Family members of Deborah Brandão, the ex-girlfriend Cavalcante murdered, have been placed under 24-hour police protection due to concerns for their safety.
Cavalcante’s escape and subsequent arrest have garnered widespread attention in his home country of Brazil, where social media users celebrated the conclusion of the manhunt.
In an interview with the Brazilian news website G1, Brandão’s sister expressed relief at Cavalcante’s arrest.
“We were afraid that he would seek revenge against my family,” Silvia Brandão told the outlet. “We were very afraid because you know what he is capable of.”
Apart from the murder of Brandão, Cavalcante faces accusations of killing a young acquaintance in the central Brazilian state of Tocantins in 2017 over an unpaid debt.
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