An accused murderer and a correctional officer who disappeared together last week in Alabama had a “special relationship”, according to the sheriff’s office that employed the officer.
Authorities are looking for Casey Cole White, who was awaiting trial for murder, and Vicky White, deputy director of Lauderdale County Corrections. They were last seen on Friday. The two are unrelated.
“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,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. at the Associated Press. “This relationship has now been confirmed by our investigation by independent sources and means.”
Friday was to be Vicky White’s last day of work before her retirement. She had told her colleagues that she was taking Casey White to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation – but no evaluation was in fact scheduled.
Vicky White was also carrying Casey White alone, a violation of department policy that requires at least two deputies to assist with transportation, according to CBS News.
Casey White is facing capital murder charges in the 2015 murder of Connie Ridgeway. Police say he confessed to killing her, saying he was paid to do it. He was charged while already serving a long prison sentence for prior offenses including theft, burglary, carjacking and animal cruelty for shooting a dog, AL.com reported.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office released surveillance video showing the duo leaving the jail together on Friday. The video, released by local news station WAAY 31, shows Vicky White leading Casey White to a patrol car. This patrol car was later found empty in Florence, Alabama – nowhere near the courthouse where they would have headed.
Someone reported seeing the pair later Friday in Rogersville — about 24 miles from Florence — in an orange Ford Edge SUV that Vicky White had purchased the previous week, according to WAAY 31.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said it was obvious Vicky White had “a part” in Casey White’s escape, although it’s unclear whether her involvement was voluntary.
“Now whether she did it voluntarily or whether she was coerced, threatened in some way to participate in the escape, it’s not really certain – but we know for sure that she participated,” Singleton told reporters at a news conference on Monday.
He added that Vicky White had been an “exemplary employee” during her 15 years in the service and that her colleagues were shocked.
“That’s not the Vicky White we know, by any stretch of the imagination,” the sheriff said.
Singleton called Casey White an “extremely dangerous” person. U.S. Marshal Marty Keely said at the same press conference that officials consider, for now, “both” to be dangerous.