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Fugitive survived on watermelon, hoped to flee US: police

Danelo Cavalcante watermelon
Source: Video Screenshot

The fugitive murderer who was finally tracked down after a massive two-week manhunt across rural Pennsylvania survived on watermelon and planned to escape to Canada or Puerto Rico, US police said.

Danelo Cavalcante, 34, evaded hundreds of heavily armed police and federal officers, roadblocks, drones and helicopters by moving at night, sheltering in thick undergrowth and burying his feces to avoid leaving clues.

He was spotted by a heat detector aircraft on Wednesday, and then nabbed by a four-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog named Yoda, who bit him on his head leading to profuse bleeding.

“He stated that he had found watermelons on a watermelon farm, and he was living off watermelon, he was drinking from the stream, he was moving at night only,” US Marshal Robert Clark told NBC.

“His end game was to carjack somebody… and head north either towards Canada or he intended to get to Puerto Rico.

“That was his plan in the next 24 hours so there wasn’t a better time for us to locate and apprehend him.”

Cavalcante, convicted of murdering his girlfriend by stabbing her in front of her children, had just begun his prison sentence when he crab-walked up two parallel walls and cleared razor-wire fences on August 31.

Measuring just five feet (1.52 meters) tall, the Brazilian national stole a rifle with a scope while on the run, as well as a backpack that had a razor in it, allowing him to shave and try to change his appearance.

“There were times, at least three times, where law enforcement officers were almost stepping on him, and the area was saturated so he felt that he needed to move locations,” Clark said.

He also stole and abandoned a truck, and was spotted several times on security cameras.

After being caught, the handcuffed Cavalcante was shown in photographs wearing a Philadelphia Eagles sweatshirt and surrounded by gun-toting officers in camouflage.

He has been moved to a maximum security prison in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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