Royersford Man Charged With Murder of Ex-Girlfriend

Danelo CavalcanteDanelo Cavalcante, 31, of Royersford, PA (Image: Chester County District Attorney’s Office)

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office and Schuylkill Township Police Department announce the arrest of Danelo Cavalcante, 31, of Royersford, PA, for the fatal stabbing of his 33-year-old former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in Schuylkill Township, PA, on April 18, 2021. The victim’s 7-year-old daughter and 3- year-old son were present during the murder.

According to authorities, after the incident, the defendant fled to Virginia, where Virginia State Police arrested him. He will be extradited back to Chester County. The defendant is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and related charges.

District Attorney Deb Ryan said, “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.”

Schuylkill Township Police Chief James Fetterman said, “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.”

Dr. Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, 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.”

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The allegations in the complaint are the following:

On April 18, 2021, Schuylkill Township police were dispatched to the 300 block of Pawling Road in Schuylkill Township for a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, the victim was found on the ground outside with multiple stab wounds to the chest. A neighbor had attempted life-saving measures. The victim was immediately transported to Paoli Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators later learned that the victim’s 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were outside with their mother when the defendant, the victim’s exboyfriend, arrived. The defendant grabbed the victim’s hair, yanking her to the ground, and appeared to have pulled two knives from a bag. He threatened to kill the victim, then got on top of the victim and stabbed her over a dozen times in the chest and upper torso.

During the struggle, the victim told her daughter to get help. The child ran to a neighbor’s house, where the neighbor called 911. The defendant fled the scene before police arrived.

Chester County Detectives and Schuylkill Township Police Department are handling the investigation. District Attorney Deb Ryan is the assigned prosecutor.

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.

Information is subject to change. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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