Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted killer who eluded Pennsylvania authorities for nearly two weeks following a brazen jail escape, formed a plan to carjack someone and try to flee to Canada or Puerto Rico as law enforcement began to close in.
None of that came to fruition as Calvalcante, 34, was captured by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection tactical team Wednesday morning. He was bitten on the leg by the team’s search dog, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois named Yoda, while he was armed with a rifle he allegedly stole days earlier.
“He said the law enforcement presence in this perimeter was becoming too intense, and that he felt that he needed to get out of the area,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark, recounting Cavalcante’s interview, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Cavalcante’s ordeal began with his Aug. 31 escape from the Chester County Jail in which he scaled a wall topped with razor wire and jumped from the roof. He didn’t eat for the first three days on the run and survived by drinking creek water and stealing watermelon from a farm and cracking it open with his head.
He stayed put for days at a time and moved at night and hid in foliage so thick that he came within yards of authorities on three occasions.
He said he covered his feces with leaves in an effort to hide his tracks from the hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement agents who were out looking for him.
“I don’t know that he was particularly skilled. He was desperate,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens, the leader and public face of the intensive search, said at a news conference Wednesday. “You have an individual whose choice is go back to prison and spend the rest of your life in a place you don’t want to be, or continue to try and evade capture. He chose to evade capture.”
The escape left the surrounding community on edge, especially after he allegedly broke into homes to steal supplies.
On Wednesday, Cavalcante was seen handcuffed and wearing a hospital gown upon arriving at a jail in Avondale, Pennsylvania. He’ll be transferred to a prison for the 2021 killing of his former girlfriend, Deborah Brando.
Brando’s reported discovery of Cavalcante’s potential involvement in the 2017 death of a man in Brazil led to her murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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