Thermal imaging video shows moments before Danelo Cavalcante capture

Despite his best efforts to evade police, it was thermal cameras that finally spotted Danelo Cavalcante the night before his capture

Amelia Neath
Monday 18 September 2023 09:14 EDT

Thermal surveillance footage shows moments before Danelo Cavalcante was caught

A video released by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shows how thermal surveillance cameras caught the moment that escaped killer Danelo Cavalcante was spotted after a two-week manhunt.

In the video captured by the DEA aviation team’s aerial surveillance, an outline of a moving body was caught walking through woodland before the morning of his capture last week.

Authorities say that capturing this thermal video of Mr Cavalcante was crucial to locating the Chester County prisoner.

The video was taken by a plane on Tuesday night near Prizer Road and Route 100 in South Coventry Township, Pennsylvania.

The plane was forced to land due to the bad weather that night, but it gave authorities enough of an idea of his whereabouts to close in on him to capture him on Wednesday morning.

He was ultimately caught by a police K-9 named Yoda, who was released onto Mr Cavalcante after he resisted arrest in the wooded area, and clamped onto the man’s head with his teeth.

Mr Cavalcante was taken back into custody, where he told authorities how he managed to survive for two weeks without getting caught, from stealing watermelon from a farm to hiding his faeces to cover up his trail.

However, it was his body heat that eventually gave him away. It was the US Border Patrol’s tactical unit (BORTAC) that made his arrest at 8am on Wednesday morning after Yoda pinned him down.

Other agencies such as SWAT, FBI, state, federal and local enforcement officers, racking dogs, and police on horseback and on aircraft all banded together to locate the fugitive.

Danelo Cavalcante has been moved to the maximum security State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County, where he awaits further trials for crimes he committed during his escape

Mr Cavalcante led hundreds of officials on a 14-day chase that spanned more than 25 miles from Chester County Prison, where he escaped on 31 August.

Cavalcante was serving a life sentence in prison for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfiend Deborah Brandao. He is also wanted for a murder he committed in 2017 in Brazil.

Mr Cavalcante has now been moved to the maximum security State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County, with a 3.2 to one prisoner-to-staff ratio.

Mr Cavalcante has been charged with felony escape over his prison break and made a brief court appearance where he was denied bail.

Prosecutors in Tocantins state in Brazil have planned to stage a trial next month for Mr Cavalcante’s link with the “double qualified homicide” of Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reis in Figueirópolis in 2017., which they said was over a debt the victim owed him for repairing a vehicle.

Before any Brazilian trial takes place, Mr Cavalcante will revisit the court again on 27 September for a preliminary hearing for the crimes he committed while on the run, such as thefts and several home invasions that have not yet been proven to be linked to the escaped murderer.

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