KENNETT SQUARE PA – An escaped Chester County prisoner, who has been convicted of murder and remains uncaptured, has been spotted on trail cameras at the popular Longwood Gardens arboretum. For safety reasons, its administrators said they would keep the attraction closed to the public Wednesday (Sept. 6, 2023).
Law enforcement officials suggested the gardens’ continued closure as a precaution. Their pursuit of prisoner Danelo Cavalcante is now in its seventh day. Pennsylvania State Police are “actively searching” on the garden properties, the Longwood announcement acknowledged.
The gardens are regularly closed Tuesdays. They also were closed for public safety on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 2 and 3), but were open Monday for the Labor Day holiday. Two school districts in the area were similarly closed.
“We sincerely thank our law enforcement as they work tirelessly to apprehend the prisoner,” the announcement added.
Cavalcante graphic from the Facebook page of Kennett Township police
Longwood Gardens path gate photo by Travels With The Post
- Read an earlier story (below) by Travels With The Post, published Sept. 5, about the manhunt’s effect on Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens Closed Two Days in Search for Convict
KENNETT SQUARE PA – The escape last Thursday morning (Aug. 31, 2023) of a prisoner convicted of murder in Chester County has created unexpected consequences for Longwood Gardens, one of the Delaware Valley’s most popular tourism attractions.
The non-profit organization, located at 100 Longwood Rd., currently features a display of its colorful fountain gardens. The annual event draws thousands of guests during summer months. The properties were closed, however, both Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 2 and 3) “on the recommendation of authorities” as law enforcement continued to search southern Chester County for convict Danelo Cavalcante.
The garden properties are less than 6 miles from the prison where Cavalcante was held. The gardens began as a Quaker farmstead and arboretum, and were developed over decades by then-owner Pierre S. du Pont. They have won national praise and awards for what are described as “outstanding” horticultural presentations across more than 200 acres.
A jury on Aug. 16 “took just 15 minutes” to convict Cavalcante of fatally stabbing his former girlfriend 38 times in Schuylkill Township during 2021, according to television station 6ABC in Philadelphia. He was awaiting transfer to a state jail to serve a life sentence at the time he escaped.
Cavalcante, labeled by police as dangerous, has since been spotted several times in municipalities surrounding the county prison. As of Tuesday (Sept. 5) at 1 a.m. he remained uncaptured.
The gardens were opened to guests for the busy Labor Day (Sept. 4) holiday. They are regularly closed Tuesdays (including Sept. 5), and are scheduled to reopen Wednesday (Sept. 6) at 10 a.m.
The Longwood Gardens website, though, cautioned that some areas “will not be accessible as we continue to monitor events.” The “safety and well-being of our guests and staff are our top priority,” it added.
Those who bought attendance tickets for days the gardens were closed “will automatically be refunded,” Longwood reported. Purchasers should “allow 5 days for your refund to appear on your credit card,” it said in an e-mail distributed to its members and ticket-holders. “We apologize for the inconvenience,” the e-mail noted.
April 2023 photos of Longwood Gardens by Travels With The Post