(Trends Wide) — Vicky White, the former deputy director of corrections for Lauderdale County in Alabama, was once considered the perfect employee and someone her colleagues could trust.
So when she disappeared alongside Casey White, an inmate being held on murder charges, in a quick escape that officials now believe may have been premeditated, those who knew her were shocked.
Vicky White, a 56-year-old widow with no children, was last seen on April 29 when she said she was taking Casey White, who is not related to her, for a mental health evaluation at the county courthouse. No evaluation or hearing was scheduled for the inmate that day, authorities later discovered.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton was unable to provide a reason why the officer helped escape, saying the action is not “the Vicky White we know.”
“Obviously, there was a side to Vicky White that we weren’t aware of,” she told Trends Wide. “She’s coordinated this and she’s taken advantage of her knowledge of her system and she’s played it to her advantage and, you know, she’s made it very difficult.”
A warrant was issued for Vicky White’s arrest on Monday on charges of allowing or facilitating flight in the first degree. The US Marshals Service released photos of Vicky White on Thursday showing what she looks like with her blonde hair and what she would look like with brown hair if she changed her appearance.
Both Vicky White and Casey White should be considered armed and dangerous, the US Marshals Service said.
As the search for Vicky White and Casey White enters its seventh day, questions about the former corrections officer continue to be raised. This is what we know about her.
She was not kidnapped or forced to assist in the prisoner’s escape.
Singleton told Trends Wide that it appears that Vicky White is deliberately helping Casey White.
Casey White was serving a 75-year sentence for a series of crimes in 2015, including a home invasion, carjacking and a police pursuit, according to the US Marshals Service. He also faces two counts of capital murder in the death. stabbed to death by Connie Ridgeway, 58, in 2015, authorities said.
“She’s absolutely helping him. We still don’t know 100% if it was intentional, but it looks like it is,” Singleton said.
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.
Officials obtained a video showing the patrol car being taken out of jail by the couple.
Video shows the car stopped at an intersection eight minutes after he was released from jail. The intersection is about two blocks from the mall parking lot where the abandoned car was later found, Singleton said.
“It’s obvious from the evidence that we’ve gathered that this was not … that he didn’t kidnap her or force her or anything in the car once they left the premises,” Singleton said.
Despite “promising” leads and reported sightings from Florida to Kentucky, officials currently “have no idea where they are,” he said.
People who knew Vicky White admired her
Vicky White was an “exemplary employee” with “an impeccable record,” Singleton said. “All of her co-workers, all of the sheriff’s office employees, the judges, they all have the utmost respect for her,” he said.
Despite her stellar professional reputation, Vicky White violated protocol Friday when she walked Casey White out of the detention center alone, the sheriff said. The policy required Casey White to be escorted by two sworn officers.
It now appears likely that Vicky White acted of her own volition, the sheriff said.
“I guess we’re trying to hold on to the last bit of hope that maybe for some reason she was threatened and did this under duress… but you would definitely feel betrayed,” Singleton said. “All of her coworkers are devastated. We’ve never had a situation like this with Vicky White. She was a model employee.”
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly last spoke to Vicky White the day before she went missing, saying he was “absolutely stunned” to learn of the situation. Connolly described the officer as “the most solid person in the jail.”
“I would have trusted him with my life,” he said. “I’m very disappointed in her. He trusted her and he exploited that trust.”
Pat Davis, Vicky White’s mother, who lived next door to her and saw her daughter every day, told Trends Wide they last spoke on Friday.
“It’s all been a nightmare. I just want my daughter to come home. And come home alive,” Davis said.
Davis said she had no idea of her daughter’s plans. “She would come home after work, have dinner at my house and pick up her dog. I was walking her dog and that was her routine every day,” Davis told Trends Wide.
Vicky White had a “special relationship” with the inmate
Vicky White and Casey White had a “special relationship,” Singleton said.
“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 work hours, not physical contact, but a relationship of a different nature,” Singleton told Trends Wide.
Singleton said inmates told officials about the special relationship between the two.
“We were told that Casey White was given special privileges and was treated differently while in the facility than other inmates,” Singleton said.
Over the course of this week’s investigation, inmates said Casey White “was getting extra food on her trays” and “was getting privileges that no one else had. And this was all coming from her,” Singleton said.
Confirmation of the relationship came from “other sources outside of the detention center,” according to Singleton.
Investigators have traced the relationship back to early 2020, when Casey White was brought to Lauderdale County for an arraignment on murder charges he faces in Ridgeway’s 2015 death, according to the sheriff.
“As far as we know, that was the first physical contact they had,” Singleton said.
Casey White was returned to state prison after arraignment to continue serving a 75-year sentence for a series of crimes he committed in 2015. The sheriff said the officer and inmate communicated by phone.
Casey White was taken back to the Lauderdale County Jail in February to attend court hearings related to his murder charges.
Connolly expressed disbelief at the idea that Vicky White was romantically involved with the inmate.
“I never would have thought of that in a million years,” he told Trends Wide, adding that it’s “a shock that she’s involved in this, and it’s just awesome.”
She is no longer an employee of the sheriff’s office.
The day Vicky White disappeared was to be her last day on the job after nearly two decades with the department, Singleton said. She filed her retirement paperwork last week.
Vicky White did not mention her retirement to her mother, Davis told Trends Wide affiliate WAAY.
He no longer works at the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, the department said in an emailed statement.
“According to Sheriff Rick Singleton, Vicky White’s employment status is currently ‘No Longer Employed by the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office,'” the email read. “Friday was her last day on the job, however her retirement papers were not finalized. This is a personnel issue to be discussed at a later date.”
Singleton said that Vicky White had talked about retiring for three or four months before the disappearance, adding that she talked about moving to the beach.
While the retirement fund paperwork hadn’t been processed, he recently sold his house and gained access to a large sum of money, according to Singleton.
Shortly before her disappearance, Vicky White sold her home for $95,550, well below current market value. Lauderdale County online records put the home’s total parcel value at $204,700.
He also purchased an orange or copper-colored 2007 Ford Edge, in which the US Marshals Service said the missing inmate and officer may be traveling.
“Clearly there was a lot of planning involved in this,” Connolly told Trends Wide.
— Trends Wide’s Paradise Afshar, Jamiel Lynch, Michelle Watson, Amara Walker, Jade Gordon, Ryan Young and Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this report.