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Multiple sightings of convicted killer who escaped Pennsylvania prison confirmed within search area as manhunt continues

CNN  — 

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

Nearly 400 officers have joined the 24-hour search operation for Danelo Cavalcante, 34, who fled Chester County Prison on August 31 by “crab walking” between two walls, scaling a fence and traversing across razor wire. Cavalcante then ran across a roof, scaled another fence and got through razor wire.

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

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

The inmate’s escape from the prison – about 30 miles west of Philadelphia – has distressed residents and instilled fear among his victim’s family.

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

Drummond said he heard noise in his house and noticed an old French door off the side of their deck was slightly ajar.

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

Cavalcante was convicted of first-degree murder last month for the 2021 killing of his former girlfriend, 33-year-old Deborah Brandão, in Chester County. Authorities said 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 homicide case in Brazil, his native country, a US Marshals Service official has said.

Before the two sightings on Friday, Cavalcante was seen in or around Chester County’s Longwood Gardens – about 3 miles from the prison – at least five times last week. On September 2, the fugitive was seen on surveillance video about 1.5 miles from the prison, authorities said. On Monday, a security camera recorded the fugitive at Longwood Gardens, authorities said.

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

Guests were asked to leave the botanical gardens Thursday as the entire venue closed for the manhunt. Police swarmed the botanical gardens, but did not catch the killer.

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

“We’ve got a large perimeter secured,” he said Friday. “That is a pretty secure perimeter that we can push hard against with the tactical team.”