Vicky White, a 56-year-old widow with no children, disappeared after 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 found.
She is accused of permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree and other charges, while Casey White faces murder charges in an existing case.
Speaking to CNN last week, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton could not provide a reason why the officer aided the escape, saying that the action isn’t “the Vicky White we know.”
“Obviously there was a side to Vicky White that we weren’t aware of,” he told CNN. “She has coordinated this and taken advantage of her knowledge of the system and played it to her advantage.”
Though the hunt for Vicky White and Casey White has come to a close, questions about the former corrections official remain.
Here is what we know about her:
She was not kidnapped or forced into assisting the inmate’s escape
Singleton told CNN before the pair’s capture that it appeared Vicky White willfully assisted Casey White.
“She’s absolutely assisting him. We still don’t know 100% it was willful, but it’s looking that way,” Singleton said while the pair was on the run.
Vicky White said she was taking Casey White to a courthouse for a mental health evaluation April 29 and would then go get medical care because she wasn’t feeling well. Authorities later discovered no hearing or evaluation was scheduled for Casey White that day, and Vicky White never arrived at the medical facility. Her patrol car was found abandoned in a shopping center parking lot, less than a mile from the detention center.
The video shows the car stopped at an intersection eight minutes after it left the jail. The intersection is about two blocks from the shopping center parking lot where the car was later found abandoned, Singleton said.
“It’s obvious from the evidence we have gathered that this was not — that he didn’t kidnap her or force her or anything as far as in the car once they left the facility,” Singleton said.
People who knew Vicky White admired her
Despite her stellar professional reputation, Vicky White violated protocol when she removed Casey White from the detention center by herself, the sheriff said. The policy required Casey White to be escorted by two sworn deputies.
It looks likely Vicky White acted of her own free will, the sheriff said.
“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. “All of her co-workers are devastated. We’ve never had any situation like this with Vicky White. She was a model employee.”
“I would have trusted her with my life,” he said. “I am so disappointed in her. She was trusted and she exploited that trust.”
Pat Davis, Vicky White’s mother, who lived next door to her and saw her daughter daily, told CNN last week that they last spoke on April 29, the day Vicky White disappeared.
“The whole thing has been a nightmare. I just want my daughter to come home. And to come home alive,” Davis said.
Davis said she had no idea about her daughter’s plans. “She would come home after work, eat supper at my house, and pick up her dog. She’d walk her dog and that was her routine every day,” Davis told CNN.
Vicky White had a ‘special relationship’ with the inmate
“We have confirmed through independent sources and other means that there was in fact a relationship between Casey White and Vicky White outside of her normal work hours — not physical contact — but a relationship of a different nature,” Singleton told CNN.
Singleton said inmates tipped officials off to the special relationship between the two.
Over the course of the investigation, inmates said Casey White “was getting extra food on his trays” and “was getting privileges no one else got. And this was all coming from her,” Singleton said.
Confirmation of the relationship came from “other sources outside the detention center,” according to Singleton.
Investigators have traced the relationship to early 2020, when Casey White was brought to Lauderdale County for an arraignment on murder charges he is facing for the 2015 death of Ridgeway, according to the sheriff.
“As far as we know, that was the earliest physical contact they had,” Singleton said.
Casey White was returned to state prison after the arraignment to continue carrying out a 75-year sentence for a series of crimes he committed in 2015. The sheriff said the officer and inmate maintained communication by telephone.
Casey White was brought back to the Lauderdale County jail in February to attend court hearings related to his murder charges.
Connolly expressed disbelief at the idea Vicky White would be romantically involved with the inmate.
“I never would have thought that in a million years,” he told CNN, adding it’s “such a shock that she’s involved in this, and it is just stunning.”
She is no longer an employee of the sheriff’s office
As of last week, she is no longer employed with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s office, the department said in an email statement.
“Per Sheriff Rick Singleton, Vicky White’s employment status is currently ‘No longer employed by the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office,'” the email said. “Friday was her last day to work, however, her retirement papers were not finalized. This is a personnel issue that will be discussed on a later date.”
Singleton said Vicky White had spoken about retiring for three or four months prior to the disappearance, adding that she talked about moving to the beach.
Shortly before her disappearance, Vicky White sold her home for $95,550, well below the current market value. County records list the total parcel value of the property to be $235,600.
She also purchased a 2007 Ford Edge, which the pair used after leaving behind the patrol car. The Ford was found abandoned in Williamson County, Tennessee, hours after the prison escape.
“Clearly lots of planning went into this,” Connolly told CNN.
Correction: An earlier version of this story had an outdated value for Vicky White’s home; the most recent value was $235,600. It also included the wrong age for Connie Ridgeway; she was 59 when she died.
CNN’s Paradise Afshar, Jamiel Lynch, Michelle Watson, Amara Walker, Jade Gordon, Ryan Young and Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this report.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing