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Escaped Pennsylvania murderer Danelo Cavalcante is caught after two-week manhunt


After a two-week manhunt, which included almost 500 local, state and federal law enforcement personnel, Pennsylvania State Police captured convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante. That happened this morning without incident. And this search had brought life almost to a standstill in Chester County, Pa. For more details, we're joined now by reporter Kenny Cooper of WHYY. Hi, Kenny.

KENNY COOPER, BYLINE: Hi. Thanks for having me.

CHANG: Thanks for being here. So how did police finally capture Cavalcante?

COOPER: So it was a long, methodical search. And it really kind of came to a head about last night. Shortly after midnight, there was a reported sighting. Authorities rushed to the area, but they couldn't find anyone. But because temperatures were cold, they were able to spot an image using a DEA plane, and that plane was using thermal imaging to actually spot someone. Now, there was a storm that passed through the area that forced the plane to land. But because it was able to capture an image, it allowed search teams to kind of converge on the area and actually, you know, form a new perimeter that was much, much smaller than all the ones previously.

CHANG: Mmm. OK. And why did the search take so long - two weeks?

COOPER: Now, the search took so long because of the terrain, you know, because of the heat. And it was because of those factors, you know, you saw the use of thermal imaging cameras be much more difficult to use. It exhausted search dogs. It exhausted these K-9 officers. But as I mentioned earlier, you know, especially as this weather kind of cooled down overnight, it allowed officers to actually circle the perimeter. And before you know it, Danelo Cavalcante was surrounded. He was near a pile of logs trying to crawl away, and that's when he was actually apprehended.

CHANG: Mmm. Well, to remind everyone, he escaped from Chester County Prison. And he wasn't the first inmate to escape from that facility this year, right? So is this prison making changes in the wake of all of this?

COOPER: So that was the first thing that the Chester County commissioners mentioned this morning when they sent out their statement. They said that the prison is already making some immediate changes to improve security, and they've actually brought in some contractors to actually evaluate the area and make sure that, you know, any, you know, perceived weaknesses within the facility are, you know, patched up.

CHANG: That was reporter Kenny Cooper from WHYY. Thank you, Kenny.

COOPER: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Kenny Cooper | WHYY