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Multiple sightings of convicted murderer who escaped Pennsylvania prison confirmed in search area as manhunt continues

The convicted killer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison was spotted twice in the search area on Friday and was targeted by hundreds of officers during the manhunt, which enters its 11th day on Sunday.

Nearly 400 officers have joined the 24-hour search for 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante, who fled the Chester County Jail on Aug. 31 by “crab walking” between two walls, climbing a fence and walking across barbed wire . Cavalcante then ran across a roof, climbed over another fence and got through barbed wire.

The two sightings on Friday were confirmed within the general perimeter where tactical teams, K-9 dogs and a helicopter are searching for signs of Cavalcante, according to Pennsylvania State Police Trooper James Grothey.

Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police, who is leading the massive search, told reporters Friday morning that there had been “probably eight or nine” credible sightings of the fugitive since his escape.

The inmate’s escape from prison — about 30 miles west of Philadelphia — has upset residents and sown fear among his victim’s family.

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Pocopson Township resident Ryan Drummond on Saturday described the “acute moment of terror” he experienced the night of September 1 after seeing Cavalcante in his home.

Drummond said he heard a noise in his home and noticed an old French door on the side of their patio was slightly ajar.

“Then my stomach dropped,” he told CNN’s Michael Smerconish.

Cavalcante was convicted last month of first-degree murder for the 2021 killing of his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandão, in Chester County. Authorities say Cavalcante stabbed Brandão 38 times in front of her two children, who are now in the care of her sister.

Cavalcante is also wanted in a 2017 murder case in Brazil, his native country, a U.S. Marshals Service official said.

Before the two sightings on Friday, Cavalcante was seen at least five times last week in or around Longwood Gardens in Chester County — about three miles from the jail. On September 2, the fugitive was spotted on surveillance video about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the prison, authorities said. On Monday, a security camera captured the fugitive in Longwood Gardens, authorities said.

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An area resident subsequently reported seeing Cavalcante on Tuesday in a creek bed on the resident’s property. On Wednesday, a camera image showed Cavalcante in or around Longwood Gardens – but Bivens said officials learned about the sighting Thursday evening.

Guests were asked to leave the botanical gardens on Thursday as the entire venue was closed due to the manhunt. Police swarmed the botanical gardens but were unable to catch the killer.

Despite Cavalcante’s elusive nature, Bivens said he is confident the fugitive will be caught.

“We have secured a large area,” he said on Friday. “That is a reasonably safe limit that we can hit hard with the tactical team.”

CNN’s Polo Sandoval, Aya Elamroussi, Brian Todd, Aaron Cooper, Ray Sanchez, Celina Tebor, Samantha Beech and Linh Tran contributed to this report.

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