FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — An escaped Alabama inmate had a “special relationship” with prison authorities who believe they aided in his escape, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.
A manhunt was underway for Casey White, who was awaiting trial in a capital murder case, and Vicky White, a prison official, after the couple disappeared after leaving the Lauderdale County Detention Center Friday morning. The two are not related, authorities said.
“Investigators received information from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center over the weekend that there was a special relationship between Warden White and inmate Casey White. This relationship has now been confirmed by our investigation by independent sources and means,” the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to media. The office did not specify the nature of this relationship.
On Friday morning, Vicky White, 56, told her colleagues that the 38-year-old inmate had to go to the courthouse for a mental health assessment. She was escorting the inmate alone, which the sheriff says is a violation of department policy. That afternoon, when she did not answer the phone, authorities discovered that the two were missing and no such assessment had been scheduled. His patrol car was found abandoned in a shopping center parking lot.
A warrant was issued Monday for the arrest of Vicky White for aiding in an escape.
Family members and colleagues said they were baffled by the involvement of Vicky White, who had worked for the sheriff’s office for 16 years, with the inmate who was already serving a 75-year prison sentence for attempted murder and other crimes.
“I just can’t imagine Vicky running off with this man,” her former mother-in-law, Frances White, said in a phone interview. She remained attached to her daughter-in-law decades after she divorced her son in 1991. He died earlier this year.
She said her former daughter-in-law was kind and always wanted to help others, but added that she was private at times. “Vicky was a person who kept all her thoughts and problems to herself,” she said.
Vicky White had no children, her ex-mother-in-law said, and had recently sold her house, a sprawling 4-acre (1.6 hectare) property she originally bought to be close to her parents . The property, which included a trailer and a barn, was “really too big” for one person, Frances White said.
WAY reported that Vicky White sold her home for $95,500 just 12 days before she disappeared. The purchase price was below market value in the area, the station reported.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said Monday that Vicky White announced her intention to retire and that the day she disappeared would have been her last day on the job.
“She’s not the Vicky White we know, by any stretch of the imagination,” Singleton said Monday.
The US Marshals Service said on Tuesday the pair could be traveling in an orange or copper colored 2007 Ford Edge with minor damage to the left rear bumper.
Authorities said Casey White, who is 2.06 meters (6ft 9in), should be recognizable by his height. Authorities have warned that anyone seeing the pair should not approach them.
“Subjects should be considered dangerous and may be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun,” the Marshals Service said in the bulletin.
Casey White was serving time for a series of crimes including attempted murder, robbery and burglary. While in jail, he confessed to the stabbing death of a 58-year-old woman in 2015, authorities said, which led to him being taken to Lauderdale County Jail for proceedings. judicial. The sheriff said they believe White plotted an earlier jail break in 2020 when they found a makeshift knife.