POTTSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, USA — A Brazilian murderer, a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania, was captured Wednesday after eluding hundreds of pursuers for two weeks. Danelo Souza Cavalcante hid in wooded areas, stole food from suburban homes, a rifle from a garage and a vehicle and altered his appearance, authorities said.
The state police announced Cavalcante’s capture on social media on Wednesday, as the 14th day of the search began, and planned to hold a press conference in the coming hours. He did not disclose the health status of Cavalcante, 34 years old.
The denouement occurred outside Philadelphia’s densely populated suburbs, an area of woods, farmland and a park. The persecution forced the suspension of classes at the beginning of the school year and blocked roads the first weekend in September, when Labor Day was celebrated.
During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, heavily armed police officers searched for the fugitive in the midst of rain and thunderstorms.
Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County Jail in southeastern Pennsylvania on August 31, crawling between two walls topped with barbed wire, from where he jumped to run away. He was awaiting transfer to state prison after being convicted days earlier of stabbing his girlfriend to death. Brazil is looking for him to try him for another murder.
On Monday night, a motorist reported to police that he saw a man who looked like Cavalcante crouching next to some trees near a road in Chester County. Police found footprints that matched Cavalcante’s shoes.
State police said he was looking for a place to hide when he saw an open garage. There he stole a .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, and fled when the homeowner, who was in the garage, shot him with a pistol.
Hundreds of officers searched an area of 8 to 10 square miles (20 to 24 square kilometers) near South Coventry, 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
Cavalcante’s escape made front-page news in Brazil, where prosecutors in the state of Tocantins say he is accused of “aggravated double homicide” for the 2017 murder of Valter Junior Moreira dos Reis in the municipality of Figueiropolis. Authorities say the victim owed them money for a vehicle repair.
Pennsylvania authorities broadcast a recording in which Cavalcante’s mother, in Portuguese, implores her son to surrender peacefully.