As federal, state and local authorities continue investigating the disappearance of Alabama corrections officer Vicky White and capital murder suspect Casey Cole White, the Lauderdale County sheriff says the evidence is suggesting she helped the prisoner escape.
“The question is: did she do so willingly or was she coerced into doing it by inmate White by threatening her and/or her family or other means,” the Lauderdale County sheriff’s office said in a statement to news outlets on Saturday afternoon.
Vicky White, an assistant director of corrections at the Lauderdale County jail, and Casey Cole White, a man who was incarcerated on capital murder charges, have been missing since they left the jail Friday morning at 9:41 a.m. The two are not related.
Sheriff Rick Singleton said the primary focus right now is finding the two. Before they left the jail on Friday, Vicky White told jail employees to prepare Casey White for transport to the Lauderdale County Courthouse for a mental health evaluation, the sheriff said, though no such court appearance was scheduled.
Vicky White also told colleagues that she was going to seek medical attention after dropping Casey White off at court because she wasn’t feeling well, but Singleton said there was no such medical appointment.
“Our secondary focus is on investigating the escape itself,” Singleton said in the statement Saturday afternoon. “Indications are, since no court appearance was scheduled, that AD (assistant director) White assisted in the escape.”
The sheriff released a timeline Saturday detailing the chain of events and what has happened in the investigation since Vicky White and Casey White disappeared.
The two never arrived at the courthouse, which is located in downtown Florence, about a half mile from the county jail.
At 11:34 a.m., about two hours after the pair left the jail, a Florence police officer saw White’s patrol vehicle. It was parked among vehicles that were listed for sale. The officer, like other law enforcement, was unaware at the time that officer White and Casey White were missing.
At 3:30 p.m., a jail employee reported to the administration that she had been trying to contact deputy White but could not reach her. The employee also reported that Casey White had not returned to the jail.
After law enforcement announced that the pair was missing, according to the sheriff’s office, a member of the public reported seeing the patrol vehicle in a shopping center parking lot. Deputies searched the vehicle but did not find any evidence.
By 5:30 p.m., about 20 local investigators were working on the case, reviewing surveillance video from the courthouse, jail, shopping center and other locations.
As of Saturday morning, deputies were still looking for any leads on a vehicle that may have been used after White’s patrol vehicle was abandoned.
The FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency are assisting with the search. The state issued a Blue Alert.
“Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the corrections officer and the public,” the alert says.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference Friday night, Sheriff Singleton said he believes deputy White is in danger, citing Casey White’s history of violence. “He was in jail for capital murder…,” the sheriff said.
He said Vicky White had been “an exemplary employee” before violating sheriff’s office policy by traveling alone with a prisoner. Two sworn deputies are supposed to escort incarcerated people.
In 2020, Casey White was charged with two counts of capital murder for the Oct. 23, 2015 murder-for-hire slaying of Connie Jane Ridgeway. Rogersville police found Ridgeway’s body in the living room of her apartment after a neighbor requested a welfare check. The 59-year-old woman lived at Meadowland Apartments on Prince Drive in Rogersville, across the street from Lauderdale County High School’s football field.
White in December of 2015 was accused in a two-state crime spree that left a dog dead and a woman injured. Police said he carried out multiple shootings, a home invasion and two carjackings in north Alabama and southern Tennessee. In 2019, he was found guilty of a total of nine charges, including trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates.
Anyone who sees Casey White is advised to contact 911 immediately. Authorities say it is not safe to approach the 38-year-old. He is described by the authorities as 6 feet 6 inches tall and 252 pounds. He has salt and pepper hair, hazel eyes and tattoos on both arms, according to state police.
Vicky White, who has been with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office for more than 16 years, is described by the authorities as 5 feet 5 inches tall and 160 pounds. She has brown eyes and blond or strawberry blond hair, according to state police. She is 56.