Alabama sheriff’s deputy Vicky White, 56, had a “special relationship” with murder suspect Casey Cole White, 38, before helping him escape from jail, authorities said. Despite carrying the same last name, the two were not apparently related. (Authorities have previously spelled deputy White’s first name as “Vicki” with an “i.”)
“Investigators received information from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center over the weekend that there was a special relationship between Director White and inmate Casey White,” the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released Tuesday. “That relationship has now been confirmed through our investigation by independent sources and means.”
The relationship was non-physical, with inmate White getting “special privileges” including extra food, Sheriff Rick Singleton told CNN.
“We were told Casey White got special privileges and was treated differently while in the facility than the other inmates,” he said.
That “special relationship” started as early as 2020, when inmate White was brought to Lauderdale County for an arraignment, Singleton said. He was already serving a 75-year prison sentence for a multi-state crime spree for charges including attempted murder and kidnapping, but he was charged in 2020 for the death of Connie Jane Ridgeway, 59, who was killed as part of an alleged murder-for-hire plot. Casey White has confessed, officials said.
The inmate White was transferred out of the Lauderdale County Jail that year for possessing a shank, Singleton said on Tuesday. The inmate eventually returned to the jail, however, and authorities said Deputy White violated policy by driving the inmate off alone once.
In the official account, Deputy White claimed she was taking inmate White to court for a mental health evaluation; she then claimed she was going to seek medical help because she was not feeling well.
But that was an “excuse,” Singleton has said. There was no court appearance scheduled. White, a well-respected law enforcement officer of more than two decades, also did not show up to local urgent care facilities. The sheriff has said both of the Whites drove to a local shopping center. They abandoned her patrol car and entered another vehicle. U.S. Marshals described it as a “a 2007 orange or copper colored Ford Edge.” Singleton voiced doubt they’d still be in Alabama.
“These are actual photos of the vehicle they are believed to be in,” U.S. Marshals said. “There is minor damage to the rear left bumper.”
Last Friday was scheduled to be deputy White’s last day on the job. She filed for retirement and had recently sold her house. Her mother told WAAY that Vicky never brought up Casey White.
Now Vicky White is charged with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree. By all accounts, the development shocked her colleagues at the jail.
“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.
The sheriff also voiced sympathy for Ridgeway’s two sons.
“We thought we had closure for them to a point, and now that’s totally upside down,” Singleton said in a press conference Tuesday.
One of inmate White’s victims in the adjudicated 2015 crime spree voiced terror over the reality that the inmate was on the run. She testified that he tried to kill her when he broke into her home in Limestone County, Alabama.
Police “promised to step up patrols, but we are freaking out,” she told WAAY, who did not identify her by name. “We don’t know if he is going to show up and take us out like he tried to do before.”
Now she says she and her family are in hiding. She also had some choice advice for deputy White.
“If she is still alive, [she needs to] get the hell out,” she told the outlet in a phone interview. “Run. Run as far as you can, and turn yourself in, and contact somebody. Like, do the right thing before you lose your life or somebody else does.”
U.S. Marshals have announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to Casey White’s capture, and for $5,000 leading to Vicky White’s capture.
Federal authorities warn that deputy and inmate may be armed, including with a semiautomatic rifle.
“They may be traveling in a 2007 orange or copper colored Ford Edge,” U.S. Marshals said. “It is unknown what license plate is on the vehicle, or it may have no license plate. The subjects should be considered dangerous and may be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun.”
Casey White is described as standing 6 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighing approximately 330 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. Federal and local officials have repeatedly emphasized that should be considered armed and dangerous.
Vicky White is described as standing 5 feet, 5 inches and weighing approximately 145 pounds.
“She has blond hair and brown eyes and reportedly has a waddling gait,” they said.
From the U.S. Marshals:
Anyone with information on the Whites’ location is urged to contact urged to contact law enforcement. You can call the USMS Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102. Anonymous tips may also be submitted via the U.S. Marshals Tip App.
[Images via U.S. Marshals]
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