A massive manhunt involving hundreds of officers is currently underway for Cavalcanti, who remains on the run despite an increasing number of reports of sightings.
“We can confirm that the corrections officer who was on duty when Danilo Cavalcanti escaped was fired yesterday afternoon,” the source told CNN. “He was an 18-year prison veteran.”
Cavalcanti escaped from the Chester County Jail on August 31 by “crab walking” between two walls, climbing a fence and crossing barbed wire.
“We pulled more people in overnight last night, some additional assistance from other agencies, from our own agency,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivins told reporters Friday.
“We have approximately 350 people north of 400 people working on this today as we speak.”
The escapee’s escape from prison – about 30 miles west of Philadelphia – has alarmed nearby residents and sparked fear among his victim’s grieving family.
More Cavalcanti sightings have been reported, including about eight or nine credible sightings, Bivins said Friday.
At least three sightings have been made in or around Longwood Gardens, about 3 miles from the prison. One was from a trail camera Monday night, another was reported to police Thursday afternoon, and the third was from a Wednesday trail camera image that was not discovered until Thursday evening.
Guests were asked to leave the Botanic Gardens on Thursday as the entire venue was closed for the haunt. The police raided the botanical gardens, but were unable to arrest the killer.
Despite Cavalcanti’s evasive streak, Bivins said he was confident the fugitive would be caught.
“We have secured a large perimeter,” he said Friday. “This is a very safe perimeter that we can press hard with the tactical team.”
When asked why the number of officers did not rise to about 400 until more than a week after the escape, Bivins said the number of officers can fluctuate.
“We had the number we needed for the various operations we were conducting,” he said.
“It’s not beneficial for us to bring in all these resources and pull them from other places because they’re not sitting around doing nothing. They have policing jobs elsewhere when they’re not here. So there’s a balance there.”
He was convicted of one murder and a suspect in another
Cavalcanti, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder last month for the 2021 killing of his ex-girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandao, in Chester County.
Cavalcanti stabbed Brandao 38 times in front of her two children, who are now in her sister’s care, authorities said.
A US Marshals Service official said Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 murder case in Brazil, his native country.
Chester County Prosecutor Deborah Ryan said Thursday that since Cavalcanti’s escape, Brandao’s relatives in the area have been living in fear, barricading themselves inside their home.
“They are protected, they are terrified. They have not left their home,” Ryan said. “We have police details on them 24 hours a day, but I know they are very anxious.”
Investigators believe Cavalcanti has been spotted multiple times in Chester County, although authorities have not provided specific details on all the reports.
Here’s what we know about some of the sightings before Thursday:
• August 31st: Cavalcanti was seen on jail surveillance video escaping from the Chester County Jail. The video showed the man “crab-walking” between two walls in an exercise arena, placing his hands on one wall and his feet on the other, then shimmying out of sight, acting prison director Howard Holland said. Cavalcanti then ran across a roof, climbed another fence and crossed the barbed wire, Holland said.
• September 1st: A resident of the town of Pocopson — where the prison is located — said he saw Cavalcanti inside his home on Friday, eating before leaving, CNN affiliate WPVI reported.
• September 2ndCavalcanti was seen on surveillance video about 1.5 miles from the jail, authorities said.
• MondayA security camera recorded the fugitive in Longwood Gardens, authorities said.
• TuesdayAn area resident reported seeing Cavalcanti in a creek bed on residents’ property, Bivins said.
A $20,000 reward is available
Authorities urged residents to be vigilant, saying the Cavalcante area was dangerous and violent. Bevins said area residents should lock their homes and car doors.
The fugitive is about 5 feet tall and has long, curly black hair and brown eyes. Police provide a A reward of $20,000 For information leading to Cavalcanti’s arrest.
“It is clear that Cavalcanti has already obtained some clothing and other unknown supplies, and we want to minimize any chance he may have of obtaining anything else,” Bivins said. “It’s very important that we keep the pressure on him as we continue the hunt.”
Some in the community are concerned why he was not arrested.
Alex Pyle, who runs Brandywine Ace Pet and Farm near the edge of the search area, said Wednesday that the chase has confused many customers.
“A lot of chaos. There’s a lot of speeding vehicles, police cars coming and going. A lot of customers are looking at the roads and asking, ‘Is this road going to be open?'” “There’s a lot of phone calls going, ‘Hey,'” Pyle told CNN affiliate KYW. Are you open?” “I know the customer base is still a little scared and anxious for this to be over.”
Agents requested security cameras, hoping to spot Cavalcanti, Pyle said. Others were looking for coolers to take road trips until Cavalcanti could be caught.
CNN’s Samantha Beach, Danny Freeman, Brian Todd, Andy Rose and Linh Tran contributed to this report.
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