(Trends Wide) — A missing Alabama corrections officer accused of helping a murder defendant escape from jail last week had a non-physical “special relationship” with him that included allowing him privileges while he was incarcerated, a sheriff said Tuesday.
The relationship between Vicky White, deputy director of corrections for Lauderdale County in northwestern Alabama, and now-fugitive Casey White was confirmed in part through leads from inmates at the county detention center, she told Trends Wide. Sheriff Rick Singleton.
“We have confirmed through independent sources and other means that there was, in fact, a relationship between Casey White and Vicky White outside of their normal business hours, not physical contact, but a relationship of a different nature,” Singleton said.
“We were told that Casey White was given special privileges and was treated differently from other inmates while he was in the facility,” Singleton said.
Authorities are searching for both Vicky White and Casey White, who are not related, after the correctional officer walked out of the Lauderdale County Detention Center Friday morning with the 38-year-old inmate while he was handcuffed and chained in his patrol, the sheriff said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Vicky White on charges of allowing or facilitating flight in the first degree, Singleton said Monday.
Vicky White said that she would take Casey White to court for a mental health evaluation and then receive medical attention because she was not feeling well. Authorities later discovered that no hearing or evaluation was scheduled for Casey White that day, and Vicky White never made it to the medical center. Her squad car was found abandoned Friday morning in a shopping center parking lot, less than a mile from the detention center.
The situation has left Vicky White’s co-workers in shock. The day she disappeared was to be her last day on the job after nearly two decades with the department, Singleton said. She filed her retirement papers last week, she sold her house about a month ago and had thought about moving to the beach, she added.
“All of his co-workers are devastated. We have never had a situation like this with Vicky White. She was an exemplary employee,” Singleton told Trends Wide’s Ryan Young on Monday. Previously, Singleton said the corrections officer had “an impeccable record” and that she was “an exemplary employee.”
“If she did this voluntarily and everything indicates that she did… I guess we’re trying to hold on to the last shred of hope that maybe for some reason she was threatened and did this under duress, but I would absolutely feel betrayed,” he said. Singleton.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly told Trends Wide that he worked with Vicky White almost daily for 17 years and last spoke to her the day before she disappeared.
“I would have trusted him with my life,” he said. “I’m very disappointed in her. I trusted her and she exploited that trust.”
Vicky White had been living with her mother for the last five weeks after selling their house, but she never mentioned her retirement or Casey White, the mother, Pat Davis, told Trends Wide affiliate WAAY. “Never heard of him, never seen a picture of him, nothing. I didn’t know anything about him,” Davis told the outlet.
Pat Davis said she doesn’t believe the situation and wants her daughter to come home.
“We don’t know if she was taken by force or if she willingly participated in this. But we just want her back, that’s all we want,” Pat Davis told WAAY.
Sheriff: “I’d be surprised if they were still in Alabama”
The video shows Vicky White’s patrol car stopped, about eight minutes after she was released from jail, at an intersection about two blocks from the mall parking lot where she would be found abandoned, Singleton said.
That indicates the car was driven directly into the parking lot and the driver never attempted to go to court, the sheriff said.
But the video doesn’t show what happened after the car pulled into the parking lot.
Singleton told Trends Wide that he believes the couple left the lot in a second vehicle, perhaps moving into a vehicle that was there or being picked up by someone.
The US Sheriff’s Service said Tuesday that the couple was last seen on April 29 in Rogersville, Alabama, in a gold/copper 2007 Ford Edge with unknown Alabama plates.
“I’d be surprised if they were still in Alabama,” the sheriff said. He noted that officials at the Canadian and Mexican borders have been notified of the search.
Vicky White would have money from the recent sale of her home, but her retirement fund paperwork had not yet been processed, Singleton said.
The US Sheriff’s Service is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the location of the missing inmate ($10,000) and the officer ($5,000).
Casey White is 6 feet 3 inches tall, and while his appearance may have changed since he got out of jail, his height will still make him stand out, U.S. Sheriff Marty Keely said Monday.
The inmate and officer should be considered dangerous and may be armed with an AR-15 rifle and shotgun, the Marshals said in a Tuesday news release.
The prisoner who escaped is “extremely dangerous”
Casey White is “an extremely dangerous person,” Singleton said.
He was serving 75 years in prison for a series of crimes in 2015, including a home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, according to the Sheriff’s Service.
He was transferred from a state prison to the Lauderdale County Detention Center on Feb. 25 to attend court hearings for two capital murder charges he faces in connection with the 2015 stabbing death of Connie Ridgeway, 58, he said. the Sheriff’s Service.
He confessed to the crime in 2020 and later pleaded not guilty, according to Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly.
“We’re assuming he’s armed because she was armed,” Singleton said of Casey White. The sheriff warned people not to approach the prisoner if they see him and to call the police.
In 2020, while Casey White was being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center, authorities learned that he planned to break out of jail and take a hostage, Singleton said.
“We shook him and found a spike in his possession, a spike is a prison knife. And we get it back. We immediately sent him back to the Department of Corrections,” Singleton said Monday.
The jail then established a policy mandating that two sworn deputies accompany inmates at all times, including during transportation to court, but “we emphasized that policy with him,” Singleton said.
Vicky White violated policy by walking out of jail alone with Casey White, but because she was second-in-command at the facility, other officers didn’t object, Singleton said. “Because she was the boss and in charge of transportation, she simply informed the registration agent that she was going to take him to court and drop him off, which was a flagrant violation of policy. But I’m sure that, because she was his boss, the registration official did not question it,” he said.
As part of her job, Vicky White “frequently toured the cell blocks, she has contact with all the inmates at one time or another,” Singleton said. “But as far as a romantic relationship or anything like that, we don’t have any evidence or proof that that was the case, although it is a possibility,” he added.
Trends Wide’s Chuck Johnston, Elizabeth Wolfe, Laine Mackey, Nadia Romero and Maria Cartaya contributed to this report.