Pennsylvania Fugitive Joins Long History of Notable Manhunts

For more than a week, Danelo Cavalcante, a Brazilian national who was convicted of murder in suburban Philadelphia and then escaped from prison, has eluded an intense manhunt that has grown to hundreds of law enforcement officers.

The pursuit continued on Monday after a weekend in which Mr. Cavalcante, who is also wanted in Brazil in connection with another murder, slipped through the authorities’ perimeter in Chester County, Pa., and was seen on a doorbell camera some 25 miles away.

His evasion, coupled with his escape from Chester County Prison by a crab-walking climb, may not be soon forgotten. But countless manhunts have lasted weeks, months or even years before the fugitive was caught. Here are a few notable manhunts from recent history.

A tire-shop owner’s sign congratulated the Murphy Police Department for the arrest of Eric Robert Rudolph in Murphy, N.C., in 2003. Mr. Rudolph, a suspect in four bombings, was captured while rummaging through a dumpster.Credit…Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

Eric Rudolph

Eric Robert Rudolph, a survivalist who was charged in the bombing at the 1996 Olympics and in attacks on abortion clinics, evaded law enforcement for five years by hiding in the Appalachian Mountains. The search for him became one of the most exhaustive manhunts in history before he was arrested in 2003.

Mr. Rudolph, who was first named a suspect in 1998, was responsible for the pipe bomb explosion at the Olympics in Atlanta that killed one woman and injured more than 100, an attack at an abortion clinic that killed a police officer, and two other blasts, one at another abortion center and one at a gay nightclub.

At the time, police officials said that Mr. Rudolph was able to remain on the loose for so long because he turned to local residents for help. The last time he was seen before his arrest was in July 1998, when he descended from the mountains and stopped at a friend’s health food store.

After he pleaded guilty to the four bombings, he was given multiple life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

Federal agents carried evidence from the apartment building where the Boston crime boss James Bulger, known as Whitey, and his longtime companion, Catherine Greig, were arrested in 2011.Credit…Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Whitey Bulger

James Bulger, who was known as Whitey, was a South Boston mobster and F.B.I. informer who was on the run for 16 years before he was arrested in 2011. He was sentenced in 2013 for his role in the murders of 11 people.

In 1994, after decades of extortion, bookmaking, loan-sharking, gambling, truck hijacking and drug dealing, Mr. Bulger vanished just as federal officials were about to unseal an indictment and arrest him on racketeering charges.

He and his companion, Catherine Greig, who joined him after he fled, were elusive, despite international searches and a $2 million award for his capture, the largest ever for a domestic target.

Mr. Bulger’s booking photo when he was apprehended.Credit…U.S. Marshals Service/ US Depart, via Associated Press

Despite many reported sightings of him over the years in Europe, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere, he was not found until 2011, when he and Ms. Greig were arrested in California.

For a decade, he was on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted list. According to the memoir “Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob,” Mr. Bulger began preparing for life on the run in the years leading up to his disappearance by taking safe deposit boxes around the world to hide valuables under false names. He also changed his appearance with plastic surgery.

In 2018, Mr. Bulger was beaten to death in a West Virginia prison.

James Earl Ray, center, being led to prison in Nashville in 1969.Credit…Associated Press

James Earl Ray

On May 7, 1968, Shelby County Criminal Court in Tennessee named James Earl Ray in an indictment for the first-degree murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But it was not until a month later, on June 8, that he was caught and arrested after an international manhunt that spanned several countries.

A Remington .30-06 hunting rifle that was determined to be the murder weapon was found on a sidewalk about a block from the motel where Dr. King was assassinated, in front of a rooming house where a man registered that afternoon under the name Eric Starvo Galt.

A white Mustang in which a man had fled the scene was registered to Eric Galt. The F.B.I. traced the serial number on the rifle and found that the weapon had been sold to a man named Harvey Lowmyer. Both Galt and Lowmyer were aliases that Mr. Ray used.

Mr. Ray spent several weeks in Toronto immediately after the assassination, before flying to London, then Portugal, and then back to London, where he was caught by British officers at Heathrow Airport as he was about to board a flight to Belgium. According to PBS, the manhunt was said to be the F.B.I.’s most expensive investigation in history.

Several months later, in Memphis, Mr. Ray pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. King and was sentenced to 99 years’ imprisonment with no possibility of parole. He died in 1998.

George Rivas spoke about his part in the Texas Seven escape from death row in a prison in Livingston, Texas, in 2012.Credit…Ron T. Ennis/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, via Associated Press

The Texas Seven

On Dec. 13, 2000, seven inmates at the maximum-security Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas, escaped by taking control of a maintenance shed, overpowering 11 prison employees and stealing their uniforms. Two of the inmates then drove a prison cart to the prison tower, locked one guard in a room downstairs, subdued another and gained control of the tower.

The group of inmates, which included two convicted murderers, a rapist and a child abuser, then unlocked the rear gate and fled in a prison pickup truck.

For weeks, the search for the seven escapees, deemed the most dangerous men in America, went nowhere, with endless useless tips that led investigators all over the country and to Mexico. But, after six weeks, the authorities received tips from local residents in Colorado about several men living in a trailer park in a rural community. When the authorities arrived, they arrested four of the escapees without a fight. A fifth man at the site died by suicide as officers tried to persuade him to surrender.

The tips from local residents came after they had seen the inmates on the television show “America’s Most Wanted,” which had broadcast four segments on the escapees.

The two other escapees, who were reported to be heavily armed, were believed to be fleeing toward Mexico but were apprehended in Colorado Springs the next day.

In 2001, John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general at the time, spoke at a news conference about the search for Clayton Lee Waagner.Credit…Shawn Thew/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Clayton Lee Waagner

Clayton Lee Waagner escaped from a county jail in Clinton, Ill., in February 2001, while he was awaiting sentencing and facing a term of 15 years to life on federal firearms and interstate theft charges.

He pried open a lock with a comb, scaled the jail roof and got away in a stolen truck. Soon after, he was on the federal authorities’ most wanted list, and was considered armed and dangerous.

While Mr. Waagner was on the run, the F.B.I. obtained information that he had claimed responsibility for sending more than 500 letters and packages containing a powdery substance to abortion clinics across the United States.

Most of the packages contained a threatening letter, signed by the “Army of God,” warning that the recipients would soon experience anthrax symptoms. All the mailings tested negative for anthrax.

In December 2001, after about nine months on the run, Mr. Waagner was captured after an employee at a photocopy store recognized him from a wanted poster. He briefly sought to flee when confronted by the authorities, but he was apprehended, ending a multistate run that the authorities said was financed by bank robberies.

Mr. Waagner is serving his sentence at a medium-security federal prison in Maryland.

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