Vicky White, assistant director of corrections for Lauderdale County, took Casey White, the inmate, from jail Friday morning, saying she was taking the prisoner to the county courthouse.
The two, who officials said are not related, have not been seen since, and the US Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the inmate’s capture and the location of the officer, the service said Sunday.
A warrant for Vicky White’s arrest was issued on charges of permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said Monday.
Here’s what we know.
The officer and the inmate left the jail
Vicky White said she was taking Casey White for a mental health evaluation when she checked him out of the jail. She said she was going to get medical care after dropping the inmate off at the courthouse because she wasn’t feeling well.
Authorities found out later no such evaluation — or any court hearing — was scheduled for Casey White that day, and Vicky White never made it to the place where she was to get medical attention, according to Singleton.
That afternoon, concerned officers at the jail tried to reach Vicky White, but her phone went straight to voicemail. It was then they found out Casey White had not been returned to the jail.
Authorities are looking at all possibilities, including whether the corrections officer willingly helped Casey White escape, which Singleton said Monday is looking likely.
“If she did this willingly, and all indications are that she did,” Singleton told CNN’s Ryan Young. “I guess we’re trying to hold on to that last straw of hope that maybe for some reason she was threatened and did this under coercion… but absolutely you’d feel betrayed,” Singleton said Monday.
“Knowing the inmate, I think she’s in danger whatever the circumstances,” Singleton said Friday.
“He was in jail for capital murder, and he had nothing to lose. Whether she assisted him or not we don’t know, and we won’t address that until we have absolute proof that that’s what happened. We are assuming at this point that she was taken against her will unless we can absolutely prove otherwise. But regardless, even if she did assist him, we think she’s in danger,” Singleton said.
Patrol car video
Officials have obtained video showing the patrol car Vicky White and inmate Casey White took from the jail Friday morning. According to the timestamp on the video, it shows the patrol car just eight minutes after it left the jail.
“What that tells us is that the patrol car left the detention center and went straight to the parking lot” where it was abandoned and later found by officials, the sheriff said. “There was not enough time for them to even attempt to try to come to the courthouse.”
The 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car was spotted in a shopping center parking lot Friday morning, according to the sheriff.
Singleton’s office has looked at all video security footage in the area where the car was spotted, but there is no evidence yet showing the two getting in another vehicle.
“We’re still aggressively pursuing every lead that we get,” Singleton told CNN Monday. “The biggest obstacle we have right now is we still do not have a vehicle description for whatever vehicle they may have transferred into.”
The officer went against policy
In her job as assistant director of corrections, Vicky White coordinates all transports from the detention center to the court, so she knew protocol called for two sworn deputies to be with Casey White at all times, as he was an inmate with capital murder charges, according to Singleton.
“All precautions were in place,” Singleton said. “The questions we have for Director White is why she violated policy.”
There’s no clear evidence as to whether Vicky White and Casey White had a personal relationship, the sheriff said Monday.
As the county’s assistant director of corrections, Vicky White “was frequently throughout the cell blocks, has contact with all the inmates at one time or another,” Singleton said.
“But as far as a romantic relationship or something like that, we have no evidence or proof that that was the case, although it’s a possibility.”
Vicky White is an ‘exemplary employee,’ sheriff said
After about two decades with the department, Vicky White submitted her retirement papers last week, the sheriff said, and Friday was supposed to be her last day at work.
She had talked about retiring for three or four months before Friday’s incident, and thought about moving to the beach, the sheriff said.
She “does a tremendous job,” Singleton told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield Saturday morning.
“All of her co-workers, all the employees in the sheriff’s office, the judges, all have the most utmost respect for her,” Singleton said. “She has an unblemished record. She’s an exemplary employee. So we’re very concerned for her safety.”
Vicky White is a widow with no children, according to the sheriff.
“As a mother, I didn’t know how to act because I thought at first it was a mistake,” Davis said. “And then when I found out for sure it was, it was just disbelief.”
Vicky White had recently sold her house and had been living with her mother for the past five weeks, Davis told WAAY. The mother said her daughter didn’t talk much about work, didn’t mention retirement and never spoke about Casey White.
“I didn’t know anything about him,” Davis said. “We don’t know if she was took by force or if she was voluntarily in this. But we just want her back. That’s all we want.”
Casey White considered ‘armed and dangerous’
Casey White was serving 75 years for a series of crimes he committed in Limestone County in 2015. The spree included home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, according to the US Marshals Service.
In 2020, he confessed to the 2015 killing of a woman in Rogersville, Alabama, according to Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly. White then pleaded not guilty to the crime.
The Alabama Corrections Department website lists Casey White as an inmate at the William E. Donaldson Correction Facility in Jefferson County. He had been transferred to the Lauderdale County detention center in February for court appearances in the murder case, according to Singleton.
The inmate intended to escape and take a person hostage in 2020, Singleton said, but his plan was discovered, and a policy was put in place mandating two sworn deputies should be with him at all times, including during transportation to court.
Because Vicky White had a 9 mm handgun, authorities assume Casey White, who is 6′ 9″, is now armed and should be considered dangerous, Singleton said.
The US Marshals Service has taken on the case, the service said in a news release announcing a reward up to $10,000. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI are also involved in the investigation.
“Anyone with information on White’s location or Assistant Director of Corrections White’s disappearance is urged to contact law enforcement,” the release said. “You can call the USMS Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102. Anonymous tips may also be submitted via the U.S. Marshals Tip App.”
“You shouldn’t try to approach either one of these individuals because we consider both of them dangerous, and in all probability, both individuals are armed,” US Marshal Marty Keely said Monday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of corrections officer Vicky White.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing