The Horrific Murder Of Deborah Brandão
In August 2023, Danelo Souza Cavalcante broke out of jail and caused a massive manhunt that ended in his successful recapture, but many don’t know about the horrifically cruel crime that sent him to jail.
Convicted murderer Danelo Souza Cavalcante made headlines around the world after he escaped from prison on August 31, 2023. He managed to scale a wall at the Chester County Prison in Pocopson Township, Pennsylvania, where he was serving time. After scaling the wall, he then pushed his way through razor wire to temporary freedom.
NBC News revealed footage of Cavalcante escaping between two walls. He escaped from the exercise yard where another prisoner, Igor Bolte, had escaped in May. Although they attempted to put up more wires after that escape, that did not stop Cavalcante.
A massive manhunt ensued, and he was captured two weeks later, on the morning of Sept. 13.
Family members of his victim had to live in fear during the time he was on the run, and the crime that led him to be in prison in the first place speaks to how dangerous he may have been while he was running from the law.
The New York Times reported that Cavalcante was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandão in April 2021, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was also wanted as a suspect in a 2017 murder in his home country of Brazil.
Brandão thought Cavalcante seemed like a good match when she first met him as a friendly, helpful neighbor. He took an interest in helping her and her two small children, and he was a fellow Brazilian who seemed to authentically care.
The victim’s sister, Sarah Brandão, was her best friend, and she now takes care of Deborah’s two children alongside her own daughter. Sarah Brandão told CNN, “She said he was nice to her, he was nice to her children, that he helped her. He kept her company. She didn’t feel alone anymore.”
“He seemed normal, but he was always very silent, observant and reserved,” she also observed. She also added that, while he was nice to her children, he didn’t show love or attachment to them.
Tragically, Danelo’s façade of niceness faded as his seemingly strong affection turned to obsession and hate. Deborah and Danelo dated for a year and a half, and things got bad when he drank. According to Sarah, Danelo would go through Deborah’s cell phone and get extremely jealous. He threatened her, saying he would “do the worst” if she ever cheated.
The threats escalated and ended with murder. In April 2021, Deborah was outside of her home with her two children, who were then only 7 and 4 years old, when Danelo approached them. He had a knife and stabbed her 38 times in front of her children. She had filed an order of protection against him, but that did not deter him.
After Cavalcante was successfully recaptured, CBS News reported that Chester County held multiple town hall meetings to help residents who were traumatized by the escape and two-weeks-long manhunt in the area.