DEA releases thermal imaging video that led to capture of prison escapee Danelo Cavalcante

A DEA plane outfitted with a thermal imaging camera led to the big break in this case.

By6abc Digital Staff WPVI logo
Saturday, September 16, 2023
DEA thermal cam video of Danelo Cavalcante
DEA thermal cam video of Danelo Cavalcante

EAST NANTMEAL TWP., Penn. -- Two weeks after breaking out of prison and eluding police, Pennsylvania prison escapee Danelo Cavalcante was finally taken into custody because of one thing he couldn't evade: his own body heat.

Multiple state, local and federal agencies were involved in the manhunt in Chester County.

It was a plane from one of those federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration, that led to the big break in this case.

Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante taken into custody after 2 weeks on the run

Video released Saturday by the DEA shows the moment Cavalcante, 34, was spotted on Tuesday night in South Coventry Township.

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At first, a small white spot can be seen on the video, but as the plane moves around a tree and gets a better view a bright human figure can be seen.

The plane was forced to land due to severe weather that night, but authorities surrounded Cavalcante's position and moved in to make the arrest on Wednesday morning.

Cavalcante tried to crawl away with a rifle he stole during his time on the run, but a K-9 named Yoda subdued him and finally brought an end to the search.

K-9 named Yoda helped authorities catch escaped murderer in Pennsylvania

Cavalcante had been convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in front of her children in 2021 and was due to be transferred to state prison.

READ MORE | Escaped PA prisoner reveals plan to steal car at gunpoint, escape to Canada

While at Chester County Prison, he managed to crab-walk up a wall, get across the roof and make his way through razor wire.

Cavalcante is now being held at the maximum security State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Montgomery County.

Video shows convicted killer escaping Chester County Prison