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Video reveals inmate used parkour to escape from prison

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Linda Stein
Delaware Valley Journal, West Chester, Pa.
(TNS)

Sep. 7—As inmate Danelo Cavalcante continued to elude law enforcement Wednesday afternoon, Chester County authorities and the State Police released a video of his escape, giving what critics say is an embarrassing look into security failures at the county-run facility.

The video showed Cavalcante stretching between two walls to climb out of the Chester County Prison and onto a roof. He then accessed another roof in a less secure area, jumped down, and left the prison on Aug. 31.

Cavalcante, who was in the U.S. illegally at the time of his arrest, was convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing his former girlfriend to death and faces life in prison. He is also wanted for a 2017 murder in his native Brazil.

Acting Warden Howard Holland said after another inmate used the same method to escape in May, officials brought in a consultant who recommended more razor wire, which was added. Holland acknowledged that was insufficient to prevent Cavalcante from escaping during a morning exercise break.

“We’ll move quickly to advance our security measures,” he said.

That will include enclosing the exercise yard and adding additional cameras. District Attorney Deb Ryan said the state Attorney General’s Office is investigating how the escape happened.

When the first prisoner escaped, he was caught within minutes because a tower guard saw him.

Cavalcante, who is 5 feet tall, managed to evade the tower guard’s notice last Thursday, and his 8:51 a.m. exit was not discovered until a count of inmates once his pod members were brought back inside, said Holland. Guards thought he might be in a visitors’ area.

The prison was locked down when he was not found, and a complete prisoner count was ordered. The siren sounded at 10:01 a.m., and officials alerted 911.

State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said efforts to catch Cavalcante continue with hundreds of law enforcement officers joining the search. There are also canines searching, along with helicopters and drones.

He said one dog became ill because of the excessive heat Wednesday and collapsed. The dog is now being treated.

Cavalcante was sighted on Chandler Road in Pennsbury Tuesday evening.

Bivens again asked for the public’s help and told residents to lock their doors and windows and lock any outbuildings to keep him from taking items. He has grabbed a sweatshirt, backpack, and other supplies.

“It’s important that we keep pressure on him,” said Bivens.

The reward for information leading to Cavalcante’s arrest is now up to $20,000.

Bivens thanked the public for its help and the residents who brought water and food for the officers taking part in the manhunt.

“It’s a very challenging area,” he said. “We’re committed to the search, and we will find him.”

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