The Pennsylvania prison tower guard who did not see or report the escape of convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante nine days ago has been fired, a source with knowledge of the decision tells CNN.
A massive manhunt involving hundreds of officers is underway for Cavalcante, who is still on the run despite a growing number of reported sightings.
“We can confirm that the corrections officer on duty when Danelo Cavalcante escaped was terminated yesterday afternoon,” the source told CNN. “He was an 18-year veteran of the prison.”
Cavalcante broke out of the Chester County Prison on August 31 by “crab walking” between two walls, scaling a fence and traversing across razor wire.
“We pulled more people in through the night last night, some additional help from other agencies, from our own agency,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens told reporters Friday.
“We have got somewhere north of 350, close to 400 people working on this today as we speak.”
And more sightings of Cavalcante have been reported, including about eight or nine credible sightings, Bivens said Friday.
At least three sightings were made in or around Longwood Gardens, about 3 miles from the prison. One was from a trail camera Monday night, another was reported to police around noon Thursday, and a third was from a trail camera image Wednesday that wasn’t discovered until Thursday evening.
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.”
When asked why the number of officers didn’t swell to about 400 until more than a week after the escape, Bivens said the number of officers can fluctuate.
“We had as many as we needed for the various operations that we had going on,” he said.
“It doesn’t do us any good to bring in all of those resources and pull them from other places because they are not just sitting around with nothing to do. They’ve got policing functions elsewhere when they’re not here. So there’s a balance there.”
Convicted of one murder and suspected in another
Cavalcante, 34, 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 siste