Escaped Murderer's 'Training Was His Suffering,' Says Mom

She insists her son is not a danger to the public
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2023 2:05 AM CDT
Escaped Murderer's 'Training Was His Suffering,' Says Mom
Pa. State Police deputy commissioner of operations Lt. Col. George Bivens (second from right) updates the news media at the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company in Kennett Square Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023 as the search for escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante continues in northern Chester County.   (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

As the manhunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante continues in Pennsylvania, his mother, in her first interview since he fled Chester County Prison on August 31, says the 34-year-old has been essentially training for survival his entire life. "His training was his suffering," Iracema Cavalcante tells the New York Times of her son's childhood in rural Brazil. "It was going to sleep hungry, it was waking up as I wondered what to feed them." He's been working since age 5, she says: "We're poor. We're humble. But we're workers. What we have, we fought to get." Authorities agree that his past has likely helped Cavalcante evade capture for so long.

On Monday night, he was shot at by a homeowner after he entered their open garage and stole a rifle, but he again escaped, and authorities are now warning he poses an even bigger threat to the public than he originally did—but his mother insists he is not a threat to anyone and is just trying to survive himself. She says he had no choice but to fatally shoot a man in Brazil in 2017 because the man wanted to kill him, and that he similarly had no choice but to kill his ex-girlfriend in Pennsylvania because she was threatening to turn him in over the alleged 2017 murder, for which he is still wanted in Brazil. Her message for her son now, she says, is not to turn himself in to authorities but to ask "God to forgive him for what he did." (Audio of her urging him to turn himself in, she says, was requested through her daughter, not through her.)

As for the family of Cavalcante's alleged 2017 victim, they tell the Wall Street Journal they are worried over news of Cavalcante's escape. "After the news of his escape from prison, everything came back, I am sick, reliving the crime," the victim's mother says, adding that she has started taking anxiety medication. (The family of his ex-girlfriend is also terrified, and under 24/7 surveillance.) Police on Tuesday defined the perimeter of the current search area, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, which has a map. No sightings have been reported since Monday night. (More Pennsylvania stories.)

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