As the group moved in, Cavalconte spotted them and began crawling through the thick underbrush with the stolen gun. “It played out pretty quickly,” Bivens said. A K-9 dog “subdued” Cavalcante, leaving a small bite wound on his scalp when he tried to escape.
Asked about the nearly two weeks it took to catch the convicted killer, Bivens said: “I didn’t know he was particularly talented; He was desperate.”
Community members are thankful for a worry-free two weeks as authorities try to interview Cavalconte before he is sent to a state prison.
“Our nightmare is finally over and the good guys won,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a statement.
Cavalconte walked out of the Chester County Jail on Aug. 31, a week after he was sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend. Bivens maintained throughout the search that Cavalcante was “very dangerous,” even before stealing a gun from a resident’s garage on Monday.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, drones, helicopters and dogs were involved in the search around Pocopson Township, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. The FBI and US Border Patrol sent resources to assist in the manhunt.
The district attorney and law enforcement officials are discussing what charges should be filed against Cavalcante, Bivens said. “For now … he begins serving his life sentence.”
Footage from local television stations showed people lining the road as a black armored vehicle escorted the convoy inside. The footage shows Cavalconte getting out of the vehicle, handcuffed behind his back, wearing a plastic sheet and being led to a state police station.
Officers described having to hack through brush so thick that even searchers a few yards apart could not see each other. Crews combed the area in temperatures so hot that Loki, a K-9 dog, had to be taken to the vet with a heat-related injury. Loki is expected to recover, officials said.
It took a week of manhunting before authorities revealed how Cavalconte got out of jail.
Officials said the inmate escaped by climbing the walls of the prison yard, crawling through barbed wire and locking himself across the roof. Then he scaled another fence and pushed through more razor wire.
The prison’s warden, Howard Holland, said that when officers noticed the inmate was not there – an hour after the escape – they locked the prison and called a special number. He said they have added an officer to the guard tower overlooking the courtyard where Cavalconte escaped.
Another inmate similarly escaped from the jail in May, but a prison guard saw a man trying to escape and alerted other officers, who immediately apprehended the inmate.
Once Cavalcante escaped, authorities gave chase.
On Sept. 4, a trail camera captured an image at Longwood Gardens, a well-known botanical garden in the South, where authorities searched for him. In the film, Cavalcante carries a backpack and a sling-style duffel bag, an early sign of his resourcefulness.
The trail cam was further south than where authorities believed Cavalcante was, so they changed their search area. The move prompted the Kennett Consolidated School District and the Unionville-Chatsford School District, which had school buildings in the search area, to cancel classes for two days.
From there, police say Cavalconte stole a van from the dairy, leaving the keys inside, and parked at the homes of former co-workers on Sunday, clean-shaven and talking to one of them through a camera on their doorstep. Bivens said Cavalcante was trying to meet with his former colleagues. Authorities found the van in a field in West Nantmeal Township, a rural area in northern Chester County.
At the time, Bivens said officers were moving away from the containment model, where they set up a perimeter and try to keep Cavalconte inside, because he now has traffic. Bivens, who did not provide details because of the active investigation, said officers are using their resources differently and working with U.S. Marshals.
Early Tuesday morning, state police said they were pursuing Cavalconte in South Coventry Township. In a tweetThey advised residents to “lock all doors and windows, secure vehicles and stay indoors,” warning that the fugitive was armed.
Cavalcante was convicted last month of stabbing Deborah Brandao dozens of times in August 2021 in front of her two children. Prosecutors say Cavalcante killed the 33-year-old woman after learning of a warrant seeking Cavalcante in connection with a 2017 murder in Brazil. Birthplace of Cavalcante. Detectives say Cavalconte killed Brandao after he threatened to expose him to the police.
This is a developing story and will be updated.