Escapee Had Been a Fugitive Before Pennsylvania Jailbreak

It was simply after midnight on a Saturday and beginning to drizzle within the largely empty city sq. by the church.

Evaldo Alves Feitosa was flipping his final burger of the night time when he heard the gunshots outdoors his snack stand.

“I thought it was a firecracker from a party at the club over there,” Mr. Feitosa mentioned. When he appeared out, he noticed Danelo Cavalcante leaping right into a silver automobile and dashing away.

Left behind was Valter Júnior Moreira dos Reis, mendacity in a pool of blood after being shot six occasions

“It was the last time I saw Danilo,” Mr. Feitosa mentioned, utilizing the extra widespread Portuguese pronunciation of his first identify. “He disappeared.”

Mr. Cavalcante is now the topic of an escalating manhunt within the Pennsylvania countryside, the place a whole lot of cops have been scouring the wooded terrain and farmland for nearly two weeks, since he clambered out of the Chester County Prison on Aug. 31.

He was being held there for the homicide of his former girlfriend, Déborah Evangelista Brandão, in April 2021. After killing her, Mr. Cavalcante had tried to flee, making it so far as Virginia earlier than he was caught and despatched to jail.

He was convicted and sentenced this August, and simply days earlier than starting a life sentence in a Pennsylvania state jail, he made his subsequent try to get away.

After greater than every week of hiding out within the quiet communities south of the jail, he slipped by way of a fringe set by legislation enforcement and stole a supply van over the weekend. On Saturday night time Mr. Cavalcante was seen on a doorbell digicam miles away. Police are actually looking an space deeper within the Pennsylvania countryside, the place he deserted the van, apparently after it ran out of gasoline.

But neither of these tried escapes was the primary time he had been on the run, and confirmed maddeningly troublesome to apprehend.

He vanished from this distant stretch of northern Brazil, too, after Mr. Moreira was shot and killed in 2017, allegedly over an unsettled debt. State prosecutors mentioned an arrest warrant towards him was issued on Nov. 21, 2017.

The first time Mr. Cavalcante escaped justice, he discovered refuge within the rural outskirts of Figueirópolis, a city of about 5,000 folks tucked deep within the Brazilian state of Tocantins. After fleeing the crime scene, he hid out on a ranch lower than an hour outdoors city, in response to native residents.

“Once you get out,” mentioned Kelton Meneses, a priest in Figueirópolis, “it’s just ranches and bush beyond here. It’s not hard to disappear.”

The dusty, wild Brazilian savanna supplied the right cowl for Mr. Cavalcante. Here, cattle ranches stretch for miles, flanked by shrubs and parched forest. Barbed wire fences, some topped with cow skulls, mark the tip of 1 lot and the start of the following. Dirt roads weave by way of jagged boulders, forming treacherous labyrinths that keep off outsiders.

Mr. Cavalcante was relaxed within the Brazilian outback, mentioned Raimundo Campos dos Santos, a longtime resident of the world. “When you’re used to the ranch, you know how to hide. He spent a lot of time in the bush.”

Mr. Cavalcante had moved to this area simply over a yr earlier than the homicide, arriving together with his mom and brother from the neighboring state of Maranhão, in response to 4 residents.

He labored on a close-by ranch referred to as Mula Preta, managing livestock and equipment. His household purchased a plot of land in a rural group subsequent door, the place they raised cattle and horses.

“They were hardworking people,” mentioned Mr. Campos, who lives in the identical group, which stretches throughout 12,000 acres. “A humble lot.”

The household’s farm sits on a distant nook of the agricultural settlement, reachable by a steep, rocky street. On a latest go to, barbed wire circled a modest farmhouse with a red-tiled roof. On the porch, saddles hung from hooks and a hammock swung within the shade. About a half dozen chickens and 4 pit bulls roamed across the dusty entrance yard. Vultures flew overhead.

Aroaldo Cavalcante, the fugitive’s brother, nonetheless lives on the ranch, in response to neighbors. On Sunday afternoon he didn’t emerge from the farmhouse, and didn’t reply to textual content messages requesting an interview.

When Danelo Cavalcante arrived within the space, he struck up a quick, unlikely friendship with Mr. Moreira, a well-liked determine on the town.

“He was sweet,” mentioned Mr. Feitosa of Mr. Moreira. “He talked to everyone. He liked to dance and to joke around.” Mr. Cavalcante was quieter. “He kept to himself, didn’t talk much,” Mr. Feitosa mentioned. “He didn’t look you in the eye.”

Even earlier than Mr. Moreira’s loss of life, Mr. Cavalcante was feared by some round city.

“He had this reputation that he kept a lot of guns at home,” mentioned Carlos Humberto Jacob, a good friend of Mr. Moreira’s who knew Mr. Cavalcante. “People used to say he had heavy weapons at the ranch.”

The friendship between the 2 males apparently soured when Mr. Cavalcante lent a automobile to Mr. Moreira, who allegedly broken the automobile and by no means paid for repairs, in response to police.

Mr. Cavalcante then started to ship loss of life threats to Mr. Moreira, mentioned Mr. Moreira’s sister Dayane. “He kept saying, ‘I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you.’”

In November 2017, Mr. Cavalcante went to the sq. to confront Mr. Moreira, who had moved to a special metropolis however had returned residence to select up a brand new driver’s license.

After the deadly encounter, Mr. Cavalcante allegedly hid out within the area for a number of weeks earlier than leaving Brazil beneath a false id. He has been thought of a fugitive in Brazil since 2017, in response to authorities in Tocantins.

As the manhunt in Pennsylvania intensifies, residents of the Brazilian city from which he vanished six years in the past are additionally reeling, mentioned Maria Cardoso, a retired schoolteacher who taught Mr. Moreira and is near his household.

“It’s like a wound that was healing,” Ms. Cardoso mentioned. “Now, it’s all coming back. People are shaken. People are scared.”

Campbell Robertson contributed reporting.

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