Man Accused of Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend to Death in Front of Her Young Children

Danelo Cavalcante, 31, of Royersford, Pennsylvania, is charged with murder, aggravated assault and other related offenses. 

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A Montgomery County man is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in front of her young daughter and son outside their home in Chester County. 

Danelo Cavalcante, 31, of Royersford, Pennsylvania, is charged with murder, aggravated assault and other related offenses. 

Danelo Cavalcante

Investigators say Deborah Brandao, 33, was outside her home on the 300 block of Pawling Road in Schuylkill Township on Sunday with her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son when Cavalcante, her ex-boyfriend, arrived. 

Cavalcante allegedly grabbed Brandao’s hair, yanked her to the ground and appeared to pull two knives from a bag. Police said he then threatened to kill Brandao before getting on top of her and stabbing her more than a dozen times in the chest and upper torso. During the struggle, Brandao told her daughter to get help, investigators said. The girl then ran to a neighbor’s house and the neighbor called 911. 

Cavalcante fled from the scene before police arrived, according to investigators. The neighbor tried to save Brandao’s life. She was then taken to Paoli Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy. Two children are left without a mother. The pain these children and all of Deborah’s loved ones are enduring as a result of this depravity is horrific,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said. “We will ensure that the defendant is brought to justice for this cold-blooded, premeditated, and despicable act. The victim’s family has our deepest sympathy.”


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Investigators said Cavalcante fled to Virginia where he was eventually captured by Virginia State Police. He will be extradited back to Chester County.  

“Our hearts are heavy as we learned of the senseless death of Deborah Brandao,” Dr. Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, said. “Domestic violence must STOP! Too many families and communities are mourning those who died at the hands of a loved one. We all must take a stand to address and end domestic violence by making perpetrators accountable for their behavior and support laws to protect victims and their children.” 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support.

Victims of domestic violence in Chester County can also call the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County at 888-711-6270 or the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County at 610-692-7420.

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