WASHINGTON — While the nation is riveted by the two-week manhunt for escaped prisoner Danelo Souza Cavalcante in Pennsylvania, another fugitive drama is playing out in the nation’s capital with relatively little attention.
Christopher Haynes has been on the run for a week, since he escaped from custody at George Washington University Hospital on September 6. Haynes, 30, was arrested earlier in the day on murder charges in connection with an Aug. 12 shooting in the District. . His escape led to a several-hour lockdown last week across GW’s campus and brief roadblocks on nearby streets.
Cavalcante, a 34-year-old Brazilian national convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, was captured Wednesday morning in southeastern Pennsylvania after a lengthy chase that featured live media coverage. Haynes remains at large and awaits trial.
The contrast between the two manhunts is stark: While the national media followed every development of Cavalcante’s escape, Haynes virtually disappeared from the map. Police were able to provide an image of Haynes last week wearing a black t-shirt and gray briefs and move to a local yard. But the only updates since then have been the offer of a $25,000 reward for information leading to his capture and a press release Tuesday increasing the reward to $30,000 and providing additional details about the escape.
Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor at California State University, San Bernardino, believes the difference between public attention and media coverage comes down to a number of factors. For starters, there’s the viral video of Cavalcante’s innovative escape from the Chester County Jail as he stood between two walls and performed a sort of vertical crab walk up and out of sight.
“There were all these aspects that were Hollywood,” Levin said. “The video of that crab walk on the wall looked like something out of a movie.”
Haynes also staged a dramatic escape, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. However, no video of this escape has yet been released.
After being taken to hospital, complaining of ankle pain, he attacked the police escorting him and fled as they attempted to handcuff him to a stretcher. Police Chief Pamela Smith, who took office six weeks ago amid soaring violent crime rates, later admitted that officers failed to properly secure Haynes, giving him an opportunity to escape.
Levin said the Cavalcante manhunt also featured a steady stream of new developments that increased public interest as the hunt dragged on. There have been repeated sightings of Cavalcante, as well as reports that he had shaved his facial hair, stolen a van, and at one point stole a rifle and was shot by a local resident. region.
“There was a new twist every news cycle. There were so many new twists that the public became obsessed with what was coming next,” Levin said. “Whereas with this type of DC, there haven’t been any new details where the stakes and intensity would increase with each news cycle.”
Washington police could not say whether he was armed.
Cavalcante’s on-the-run flight also spread fear across a large rural and suburban community, with schools closing and authorities sending warnings to every phone in the area, asking residents to lock their doors and stay on alert . They were able to establish perimeters on which they concentrated their hunting.
But Haynes escaped into the middle of a big city, not far from a subway station. Police said this week they received several reports of possible sightings of Haynes. But aside from the several-hour shelter-in-place order for GW’s campus on the day of his escape, there have been no other public signs of prosecution.
“MPD continues to search for Christopher Haynes while the reward for information leading to his arrest has been increased to $30,000,” police announced Tuesday on the social network X, formerly called Twitter.
The great public interest in the Pennsylvania case is not so surprising.
Levin said American audiences have long been fascinated by this kind of true-crime-on-the-run-from-justice story. “American crime narrative culture goes back 100 years, to the days of Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson,” he said.