A murderer made a brazen escape from a jail in the Philadelphia suburbs by scaling a wall, climbing over razor wire and jumping from a roof. The breakout was not detected by guards for an hour, authorities said as the killer eluded a widening manhunt for a seventh day.
The timeline and details of Danelo Cavalcante’s escape – including that he got out using the same route another prisoner took in May – were released as police flooded a search zone of increasingly worried residents. A tower guard on duty during the breakout was put on leave as part of the escape investigation.
The escape and search attracted international attention, including in Cavalcante’s native Brazil. The main newspaper in Rio de Janeiro ran a lengthy story on Wednesday with the headline “Dangerous hide-and-seek”.
Howard Holland, the acting warden of the Chester county prison, played a security video to reporters. It showed the 34-year-old Cavalcante standing in a passageway next to the jail yard before bracing his hands on one wall and his feet on another then “crab-walking” up the walls, out of the camera’s view. Holland said the prison brought in a consultant after the first escape in May and added razor wire to that area.
“What was perhaps overlooked was the fact that addressing the single point of physical countermeasures should have been bolstered by additional means. We are addressing that,” Holland said, adding that the prison was fully staffed when Cavalcante broke out.
The prison is considering adding officers to the yard during recreation times, as well as caging in the top of those yards, Holland said. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has taken over the escape investigation, he said.
Holland said the inmate who escaped in May was returned within minutes after a tower guard sounded the alarm. He said Cavalcante was identified as missing after a headcount, more than an hour after the video was taken. A public siren was sounded about 10am.
Holland declined to say why the guard, whose name was not made public, had not noticed Cavalcante heading away from the prison’s perimeter.
Cavalcante received a life sentence last month for killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in front of her children in 2021. He escaped while awaiting transfer to state prison. Prosecutors say he killed Brandao to stop her from telling police that he was wanted in a 2017 killing back in Brazil. He had been captured in Virginia. Authorities believe he was trying to return to Brazil.
Two suburban Philadelphia school districts and one of the premier US botanical gardens were closed as authorities kept up their search.
Cavalcante has been spotted six times, most recently on Tuesday night when he was seen in a residential area. He had been spotted on Monday night at Longwood Gardens, where trail surveillance video captured him walking. That sighting led officials to move the search area farther south.
Authorities urged residents to keep homes and vehicles locked, to check properties of vacationing neighbors and to look out for missing cars, bicycles or other transportation Cavalcante might use.
Ryan Drummond, whose Pocopson home was broken into late Friday by a man believed to be Cavalcante, believes Cavalcante came in through French doors that had a broken lock – and perhaps was nearby when his family was talking about the problem as they locked up the house that night.
The intruder left with “a peach, an apple, maybe a few snap peas” that he found on the kitchen counter, Drummond said, along with a white hat he soon lost as he fled past a neighbor’s yard.
“Everybody wants this to be over,” said Drummond. “How can it be going on almost a week at this point?”
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/sep/07/danelo-cavalcante-jail-escape-pennsylvania-wall-video Murderer escaped US jail by scaling wall and climbing over razor wire | Pennsylvania