Avatar photo

By AFP


US police announce capture of Brazilian fugitive

Police declared him 'armed and extremely dangerous'.


US police announced Wednesday the capture of a convicted Brazilian murderer who caught national attention with his daring prison escape and two weeks on the run.

Pennsylvania state police said on social media that a press conference would be held shortly “announcing the details of THE CAPTURE of Danelo Cavalcante.”

‘Dangerous’ Cavalcante

Footage on CNN showed heavily armed officers in camouflage handcuffing the Brazilian national and removing his shirt, revealing a large tattoo on his back, before placing him in the back of a police vehicle.

No further details were given.

The manhunt for the Brazilian national had involved some 500 police using helicopters, drones, dogs and backed by special units in military style gear.

ALSO READ: Rwanda genocide fugitive Kayishema to seek asylum in SA

But Cavalcante, 34 and measuring a diminutive five feet (1.52 meters) tall, appeared to have an uncanny ability to dodge his pursuers.

He had already evaded police in the suburban and rural area west of Philadelphia since his jail break on August 31 and on Tuesday he raised the stakes by entering a private garage to steal a .22 caliber rifle with a scope — then dodging pistol gunfire from the pursuing homeowner to get away.

Police declared him “armed and extremely dangerous.”

Cavalcante was convicted of murdering his girlfriend — stabbing her dozens of times in front of her children — and had just begun his sentence when he climbed over the prison wall and cleared two razor-wire fences.

Police then struggled to narrow down the fugitive’s location in the heavily wooded area. However, Cavalcante repeatedly popped up on private security cameras and even trail cams meant to monitor wildlife, turning his escapade into a kind of grim reality TV show.

ALSO READ: Hawks and Interpol arrest Namibian fugitive in Paarl

Stealing from houses, he succeeded in finding clothes, food, the rifle, a van and somehow even managed to get shaved.

On Tuesday, after the rifle theft, authorities set up roadblocks in the rural roads around Bucktown, Pennsylvania, where elite SWAT police and armored vehicles were also deployed.

In addition to flooding the search zone with messages warning residents, a decision was taken early Tuesday to close schools in the Oakland J. Robert school district.

‘Needle in haystack’

Defending against criticism that the police were inept in the manhunt, Pennsylvania police spokesman George Bivens had called Cavalcante the “proverbial needle in the haystack.”

The director of Lundale Farm, some 40 miles (64 kilometers) outside of Philadelphia, said police were “walking through our property, walking through the woods.”

ALSO READ: Italy catches fugitive Mafia boss Messina Denaro

She said the area has “trees, creeks and bridges and all kinds of corners (where) you could sneak around.”

“It’s been very stressful.”

Police had upped the reward for information on Cavalcante’s whereabouts, from $20,000 to $25,000. Cavalcante is also wanted for murder in Brazil, US police say.

Read more on these topics

Brazil United States (US)

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits