(Trends Wide) –– As the search continues for an escaped prisoner accused of murder and a jailer accused of helping him escape in Alabama, new details emerge about their relationship and the woman’s apparent preparations for the escape.
The investigation has revealed what authorities believe to be a romantic relationship between Vicky White, deputy director of corrections in Lauderdale County, and Casey White, an inmate accused of murder who was held at the same county detention center, the Sheriff Rick Singleton to Trends Wide.
A warrant is out for Vicky White’s arrest on charges of allowing or facilitating flight in the first degree, the sheriff announced Monday. Meanwhile, authorities are increasingly confident that the jailer voluntarily helped the inmate escape, rather than being forced or coerced.
The disappearance of the prisoner and the jailer in Alabama
Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, who are not related, disappeared on Friday morning after she reported that she would take the inmate to court and then seek medical attention because he was not feeling well. Neither of them came to court and Vicky White did not go to a medical center either.
Authorities now believe the inmate and jailer had a romantic relationship that extended into Vicky White’s off-duty hours, according to the sheriff. They were able to trace the relationship back to 2020, when Casey White, already serving time in state prison, was first brought to Lauderdale County for an arraignment, Singleton said.
“As far as we know, that was the first physical contact they had,” Singleton said. And he noted that the couple continued to communicate after Casey White was transferred back to prison.
According to the sheriff, the two had a “special relationship” which was confirmed, in part, by inmates at the detention center, who told investigators that Casey White “got extra food on her tray” and “got privileges no one else got, And all of this was coming from her.”
Investigators are now reviewing surveillance footage from the detention center for more information.
How did the leak happen?
Surveillance video released by the detention center Tuesday shows Casey White, chained and handcuffed wearing an orange jumpsuit, being escorted to the back of Vicky White’s patrol car on Friday morning.
From there, Singleton said, the two drove to a shopping center less than 10 minutes away, ditched the squad car and got into a metallic copper-colored 2007 Ford Edge pickup.
Vicky White bought the car in the city of Rogersville, about 25 miles east of Lauderdale County, and left it in the parking lot the night before she went missing, Singleton said.
“We know there was never any intention of going to court. They went directly to the Florence Square parking lot, left the squad car, got into the other vehicle and drove away,” Singleton said.
“We assume they’re going to get rid of that car at the earliest opportunity, when they find out the description has been released, so we’re back to square one,” he added.
Casey White’s background
Investigators also provided more details about Casey White’s history at the Lauderdale County Detention Center.
While he was being held there in 2020 for his murder arraignment related to the 2015 death of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway, authorities discovered he had a plan to escape and take a hostage. Also that he had a makeshift knife.
Following the discovery, Casey White was transferred back to state prison, where he was already serving a 75-year sentence for multiple crimes in 2015.
The detention center had a policy requiring two sworn officers to accompany inmates at all times, including during courthouse transfers, but “we emphasized that policy with him” after the escape plan was discovered, Singleton said.
Casey White returned to the Lauderdale County Detention Center last February to attend court hearings in her murder case.
The transfer that the Alabama jailer ordered for the prisoner
On Friday morning, Vicky White had Casey White prepped for the transfer and told the records officer that, like her other colleagues, they had already left for court and she was the only available officer with a gun. certified fire certificate, she would take him to court alone, the sheriff said.
“Being the boss and the one in charge of transportation, she simply informed the records officer that she would take him to the courthouse and drop him off there. Which was a flagrant violation of policy. But I’m sure since she was his boss, the records agent didn’t question her,” Singleton added.
The sheriff described Casey White as “an extremely dangerous person.” In this sense, he warned people that if they see him, do not approach him and call the police.
Authorities assume that Casey White is armed because Vicky White had a gun. The US Marshals Service warned Tuesday that they may have an AR-15 rifle and a shotgun.
“I’m so disappointed in her,” says the prosecutor
Vicky White sold her home about a month ago and was scheduled to retire this Friday after nearly two decades with the department, Singleton said. He also added that her retirement fund documentation has not been processed.
The disappearance and emerging details about the woman described as “a model employee” with “a spotless record” have left her family and co-workers in disbelief.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly last spoke with her the day before she went missing. He said he was “absolutely stunned” to learn of the situation, describing the officer as “the strongest person in the jail.”
“I’m very disappointed in her,” he said. “She was trusted, and she abused that trust.”
Vicky White’s mother, with whom she had lived for the last five weeks after selling her house, said she never heard her daughter mention Casey White. She was also shocked to discover that she had disappeared with a murder suspect.
“As a mother, I didn’t know how to act because at first I thought it was a mistake. And then when I found out it wasn’t, it was just disbelief,” Pat Davis told Trends Wide affiliate WAAY.
The Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the location of the escaped inmate and up to $5,000 for the missing jailer.
Trends Wide’s Jade Gordon, Jamiel Lynch, Ryan Young, Jaide Timm-Garcia, Kelly McCleary and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.