Murderer Danelo Cavalcante Finally Captured, Hiding in Woodpile, After 2 Weeks on the Run

Cavalcante Captured
Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday morning after being on the run for 14 days.CBS News

Murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday morning in a wooded area without a shot fired, authorities said.

Murderer Danelo Cavalcante, who eluded hundreds of law enforcement officers for 14 days in the woods of Pennsylvania, has finally been captured, authorities said.

The 35-year-old escaped Aug. 31 and then hid in dense terrain, broke into suburban homes, changed his appearance, stole a vehicle and ran from gunfire after pilfering a rifle from a homeowner's garage.

The two-week manhunt terrified local residents as authorities told people to lock their doors, stay inside and be on the lookout for the 5-foot convict.

Cavalcante was captured shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, after a Drug Enforcement Administration plane using thermal imaging picked up a heat source in South Coventry Township outside Philadelphia, authorities said.

The fugitive had tried to elude authorities early Wednesday by lying flat under a woodpile, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens told reporters after the capture.

But law enforcement officers had already surrounded Cavalcante and had "the element of surprise," Bivens said. The convict tried to crawl away, taking his stolen rifle with him, but was attacked by K-9 service dog.

Cavalcante was treated for a minor dog bite afterward, Bevins said.

“I can assure you he will not escape while he is in our custody,” Bevins said as the press conference ended Wednesday. After Cavalcante is questioned by authorities, he will be transferred to a state prison. “I have every confidence that they will be able to safely and securely house him as well.”

Pennsylvania authorities have faced mounting criticism after Cavalcante was able to escape the Chester County Jail by crab walking up two opposing walls in broad daylight. Once on the roof ringed by razor wire, the convicted killer jumped and ran, surveillance video showed. 

His absence was not noticed for about an hour, authorities later said. An unidentified guard on duty at the time has since been fired.

Cavalcante was convicted on Aug. 16 of stabbing to death his ex-girlfriend and was sentenced to life in prison. The Brazil native is also wanted in his home country in connection with another murder.

"Today is a great day here in Chester County," said District Attorney Deb Ryan, whose office prosecuted Cavalcante. "Our community can finally regain its normalcy," she said.

The "nightmare is finally over and the good guys won.” Ryan said. The prosecutor said of one of the first phone calls she made after Cavalcante's capture was to the family of Deborah Brandao, the woman he murdered.

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