Washington, D.C. While the two-week manhunt in Pennsylvania for escaped prisoner Danelo Souza Cavalcante has captured the attention of the country, a different fugitive story has been unfolding in the nation’s capital with surprisingly less attention.
Since breaking free from police custody at George Washington University Hospital on September 6, Christopher Haynes has been on the run for a week. Haynes, 30, had been detained earlier in the day on suspicion of murder in connection with an incident that occurred in the neighborhood on August 12. Last week, his escape led to a several-hour shelter-in-place order for the whole GW campus as well as momentary bottlenecks in the area. After a protracted manhunt that was covered in wall-to-wall live television, Cavalcante, a 34-year-old Brazilian national who was found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend, was apprehended Wednesday morning in southeast Pennsylvania. While awaiting a trial, Haynes is still at large.
The two manhunts have contrasted sharply: whereas Haynes has mostly disappeared from view, Cavalcante’s escape has been closely followed by the national media. Last week, police were able to release a photo showing Haynes walking through a neighborhood property while sporting a black t-shirt and grey boxers. The only developments since then, meanwhile, have been a press release on Tuesday raising the prize to $30,000 and revealing further information on the escape, along with a $25,000 reward for information that results in his capture.
The disparity between public interest and media coverage, according to California State University San Bernardino’s Brian Levin, is the result of several issues. In the beginning, there is the widely circulated film of Cavalcante’s daring escape from Chester County Prison, in which he wedged himself between two walls and executed a sort of vertical crab-walk up and out of sight.
There were a lot of Hollywood-like elements, according to Levin. “That crab’s ascent of the wall in the video looked like something out of a movie.”
Additionally, Haynes pretended to flee, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. However, there is currently no footage of that escape online.
He fought the cops accompanying him as they tried to shackle him to a gurney after being carried to the hospital complaining of ankle discomfort. Police Chief Pamela Smith subsequently acknowledged that the police had not adequately secured Haynes, which gave him a chance to escape. She took over as chief six weeks ago amid rising violent crime rates.
According to Levin, as the Cavalcante manhunt stretched on, there was also a continual stream of fresh revelations that raised public attention. There were several sightings of Cavalcante, allegations that he had shaved his facial hair, had stolen a van, and had once taken a rifle before being fired at by a local.
“Almost every news cycle brought a fresh twist. The audience was fascinated by what would happen next since there were so many novel turns, according to Levin. “In contrast, there haven’t been any fresh details in the case of the D.C. fellow, where the stakes and intensity would rise with each news cycle.”
It was unclear to Washington’s police if he was armed. Additionally, Cavalcante’s fugitive escape caused terror to spread throughout a sizable rural and suburban region, resulting in the closure of schools and the transmission of messages to all nearby phones instructing citizens to lock their doors and remain vigilant. They were able to create boundaries around which they concentrated their quest.
Haynes, however, managed to flee via a sizable metropolis not far from a tube stop. This week, the police reported receiving several reports of probable sightings of Haynes. On the day of his escape, a shelter-in-place order was issued for the GW campus, but other than that, there have been no further overt indications of the pursuit.
The reward for information leading to Christopher Haynes’ arrest has been raised to $30,000, according to a police statement published on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, on Tuesday.
The Pennsylvania case’s high public interest was not altogether unexpected.
Levin claimed that such true-crime tales of criminals eluding prosecution have always piqued the interest of the American public. The days of Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson are when the American crime story culture first emerged, he said.