Guards at a Pennsylvania state prison where a convicted murderer escaped last week did not see or report his disappearance, officials said Wednesday, as a manhunt continues for Danelo Cavalcante, who police describe as “extremely dangerous.”
Howard Holland, a special liaison for the Chester County, Pennsylvania, Prison Board, confirmed Cavalcante escaped Chester County Prison through an exercise yard, after he “crab-walked up a wall” and scaled a fence that had recently been re-topped with razor wire, following a different inmate’s escape from the same prison in May.
Cavalcante then ran across a roof and “pushed his way through” more razor wire in order to escape, Holland said.
Holland also said that officials in Pennsylvania had determined in May the new razor wire was “sufficient,” admitting those measures “should have been bolstered,” and that the prison is addressing its security measures, including by considering fully enclosing all outside exercise areas and installing more cameras.
A prison officer in the facility’s observation tower did not observe or report Cavalcante’s escape, and his absence was only discovered when inmates were counted later Thursday morning, Holland said—that guard has since been placed on administrative leave.
Cavalcante, who was convicted of first-degree murder in August and sentenced to life in prison, was sighted last in Pennsbury Township, south of the area where police had been searching, officials said in a press conference on Wednesday.
What We Don’t Know
Cavalcante’s location. Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said he believes Cavalcante remains within the search perimeter, which had been expanded to the south and east of an initial two-mile radius, where more than a hundred state, local and federal officers are searching. Police broadened their search area after Cavalcante was spotted further south than police expected him to be, Bivens said, adding Cavalcante is likely heading south.
Bivens also said he believes Cavalcante has “clearly” obtained new clothes and other supplies since his escape. One resident in Chester County told the Philadelphia Inquirer he believes Cavalcante stole supplies from his house, including an apple, snap peas and peaches, while surveillance photos posted by the Chester County District Attorney’s office show Cavalcante carrying a backpack.
Cavalcante, 34, escaped from Chester County Prison on Thursday, and was initially believed to be hiding in a wooded residential area within a two-mile radius of the prison, just over 20 miles west of Philadelphia. Since his escape, Cavalcante has been spotted at least five times, including on security cameras, a surveillance camera at a nearby park and by a police officer who attempted to chase him on foot, according to the Pennsylvania State Police.
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