Man charged in stabbing murder of ex-girlfriend in Schuylkill

Danelo Cavalcante

A Royersford man is facing first degree murder charges in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend in Schuylkill, Sunday, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and Schuylkill Township Police Department announced Monday.

Danelo Cavalcante, 31, has been charged in the fatal stabbing of 33-year-old Deborah Brandao, Sunday, as officials said, the woman’s 7-year-old daughter and 3- year-old son were present during the murder.

Authorities said that Cavalcante fled to Virginia, where Virginia State Police arrested him. He will be extradited back to Chester County. Cavalcante is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and related charges.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy,” District Attorney Deb Ryan said. “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.”

The killing is a break from the normal quiet and peace typically seen in Schuylkill.

“My department is committed to keeping everyone in our community safe from violence,” Schuylkill Township Police Chief James Fetterman said. “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.”

The incident appears to be another act of domestic violence, authorities said.

“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.”

Authorities said  Schuylkill Township police were dispatched to the 300 block of Pawling Road in Schuylkill Township for a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, police said 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 say they 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 ex- boyfriend, arrived. Cavalcante is alleged to have grabbed Brandao’s hair, yanking her to the ground, and appeared to have pulled two knives from a bag. He allegedly 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, Brandao told her daughter to get help. The child ran to a neighbor’s house, where the neighbor called 911. The defendant reportedly 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.

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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