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Escaped inmate caught on trail cam at Philly-area botanical garden; schools closed amid manhunt

POCOPSON TWP., Penn. — The manhunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante has expanded after he was sighted outside the area police have been searching since he escaped from prison Thursday, Pennsylvania authorities said.

A large police presence had been searching the heavily wooded area in Pocopson Township and Chester County – within 2 miles of the prison.

Police have now expanded the area after a security camera sighting of the inmate at Longwood Gardens Monday evening, south of where the previous established perimeter was, Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference Tuesday.

Cavalcante, 34, broke out of the Chester County Prison, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia Thursday evening, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said.

He was convicted of first-degree murder on August 16 of killing his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brando, in 2021. He was sentenced to life without parole.

Two school districts in the area announced they will be closed Tuesday after authorities said the manhunt had widened.

SEE ALSO: Timeline: Everything we know about the prison break in PA

Kennett Consolidated School District, which is about 9 miles from the prison, and Unionville-Chadds Ford School district, about 5 miles from the prison, both announced they will be closed Tuesday.

“We were informed early this morning by law enforcement that the search situation has evolved and out of an abundance of caution, schools and offices will be closed today,” said the superintendent of Kennett Consolidated School District.

“The district has received information that the status of the situation with the escaped prisoner has changed. Schools and offices are closed today and the district will operate on a Flexible Instructional Day,” Unionville-Chadds Ford School district announced.

MORE: PA resident says escaped murderer broke into my house, stole fruit

The police dragnet had previously focused on a deeply wooded area with a 2-mile radius near the prison, Robert Clark, supervisory deputy US Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said at a Monday afternoon news conference. There had been four sightings of the escaped inmate within a 1.5- to 2-mile radius of the prison, said Clark.

Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 homicide case in Brazil, which led to him fleeing the country, said Clark. Authorities previously said they were looking into whether Cavalcante had inside help to escape.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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