Warrant issued for Alabama corrections officer who vanished with jail escapee

/
1 min read

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Authorities searching for an escaped murder suspect in Alabama issued an arrest warrant on Monday for the female corrections officer who vanished with him from jail and was initially feared to have been taken hostage when he made his getaway last week.

Both the inmate, Casey White, 38, and his 56-year-old accused escape accomplice, assistant corrections director Vicky White, are now considered fugitives who are armed and dangerous, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said.

The U.S. Marshals Service was treating the manhunt for the pair, who are not related, as one of its top investigations.

Casey White, charged with capital murder in a September 2020 stabbing death and already serving time for a 2015 crime spree including home invasion and carjacking, was last seen on Friday leaving the jail in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, about 65 miles west of Huntsville.

At the time, he was handcuffed and shackled in the custody of Vicky White, who was supposedly transporting him by patrol car from the detention center to the county courthouse for a mental evaluation, according to Singleton.

Vicky White had told the jail’s booking officer she planned to turn the detainee over to other deputies at the courthouse, then go on a personal medical appointment because she was feeling ill, Singleton said.

Both the mental exam and her claim to be feeling unwell were part of the ruse, Singleton said, as was Vicky White’s assertion that she was the only armed officer available to transport the inmate, violating protocols requiring every inmate to be accompanied by at least two deputies during transfers.

Authorities realized the two had gone missing after the patrol car was found left in a shopping center parking lot. The sheriff said investigators have since received tips that the inmate and officer switched to another car.

The sheriff held out the possibility that Vicky White helped free the inmate under duress, but he said investigators were also looking into whether the two had formed a romantic bond before the escape.

Singleton said Friday was to have been her last day on the job before retirement, and that Vicky White, a 17-year corrections veteran, had sold her house a month earlier.

“Nobody saw this coming,” he told reporters. “If she did this willingly, those of us who worked with Vicky White, and have worked with her for years, this is not the Vicky White we know… She has been en exemplary employee.”

Singleton said Casey White, suspected of plotting a previous escape bid from the same jail in 2020, had been transferred from a state prison to the county lockup on Feb. 25 for a series of pre-trial court proceedings he faced in the murder of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)