A Royersford man was captured in Virginia after he allegedly stabbed his 33-year-old ex-girlfriend to death while her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son watched the brutal murder, authorities said.
Deborah Brandao and her children were outside of her Pawling Road residence when her ex-boyfriend, Danelo Cavalcante, 31, arrived and grabbed her hair, yanking her to the ground on Sunday in Schuylkill Township, according to the Chester County District Attorney's office.
Cavalcante then allegedly pulled two knives from his bag, threatening to kill Brandao, to which he then got on top of her and began stabbing her over a dozen times in the chest and upper torso, the DA's office said.
During the struggle, Brandao apparently told her daughter to get help. The girl then ran to a neighbor’s house, where the neighbor called 911, authorities said.
Cavalcante fled the scene before police arrived.
Brandao was immediately sent to Paoli Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, authorities said.
After the incident, Cavalcante fled to Virginia, where Virginia State Police took him into custody. He will be extradited back to Chester County.
“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. 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," DA Deb Ryan said.
Cavalcante was charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and related charges.
“My department is committed to keeping everyone in our community safe from violence. This murder was a senseless and tragic loss of life that will now affect two children forever. We are grateful for the assistance of the Chester County Detectives and the Maryland and Virginia State Police for their expeditious apprehension of the defendant. This was a team effort," Schuylkill Township Police Chief James Fetterman said.
“Our hearts are heavy as we learned of the senseless death of Deborah Brandao. 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," Dr. Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County said.
Over $2,700 had been raised on a GoFundMe page as of Monday evening. The funds will go towards the children's future care, such as counseling, long-term education, and support with basic needs, according to organizer Marina Baron.
The children are now under the care of their only aunt.
Chester County Detectives and Schuylkill Township Police Department are handling the investigation. District Attorney Deb Ryan is the assigned prosecutor.
Please contact Chester County detective David Nieves at 610-344-4605 with further information about this case.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, 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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