Friday was supposed to be her last day before retirement.
update: 5/2/2022 12:58 PM PST
Director Vicki White is now wanted for allegedly helping Casey Cole White escape.
The officer and inmate are both still missing, and investigators are now working under the assumption the duo are on the run together.
At a press conference Monday, Sheriff Rick Singleton confirmed his co-worker is charged with first-degree permitting or facilitating escape.
He told reporters that video surveillance shows the patrol car they left in stopped at an intersection 2 blocks from where it was later found abandoned. The video is time-stamped 9:49 AM; investigators know the car left the detention center at 9:41 AM.
“That’s 8 minutes time spent. What that tells us is that the patrol car left the detention center and went straight to the parking lot. There was not enough time for them to even try to attempt to come to the courthouse, and then get out there and be at that red light 8 minutes later.”
Casey White, he said, was shackled and handcuffed in the back of the car when they left the jail.
The Sheriff said just minutes before they disappeared, two van-loads of inmates had been transported from the detention center. That’s when Officer White told the booking officer to bring Casey White up, saying she was the only armed officer available so she was going to transport him herself.
“That’s why I’m sure the booking officer didn’t question it — she after all is her boss. And she coordinates all the transports,” the Sheriff said.
“Casey White, as you’ve heard me say over and over, is an extremely dangerous person. And we need to get him located and get him off the streets.”
US Marshall Marty Keely pointed out that the escaped suspect is hard to miss, standing at 6′ 9″ tall.
“There is the possibility that he has changed his identity as far as his looks, but he will stand out at 6′ 9″,” he said, advising anyone who sees them to steer clear and call 911.
“You shouldn’t try to approach either one of these individuals,” Keely said. “We consider both of them dangerous, and in all probability both individuals are armed.”
Investigators are now looking back to see what interactions the two had at the jail, and for any evidence of a romantic relationship; as Assistant Director of Corrections there, Vicki White could move about the facility without raising suspicion.
Sheriff Singleton told reporters White had been talking about retiring for three or four months — and that Friday was supposed to be her last day at work.
He said she had access to cash having recently sold her house; although she was entitled to a lot of retirement money, she had not yet completed the necessary paperwork to access it.
“We know she participated,” the Sheriff said. “Now, whether she did that willingly, or if she was coerced, threatened somehow to participate in this escape… not really sure. But we know for sure she did participate.”
“We’re checking to see what interactions they had, to see if there was any kind of relationship prior.”
He said that when news of what had happened broke at the jail, “it was like a funeral wake.”
“This is not the Vicky White we know. She has been an exemplary employee,” he said.
“They are devastated,” he added of her colleagues. “We can just hope this has a good ending.”
He accepted she may be tricky to track down, as her 27 years on the force had afforded her knowledge of how police hunt suspects.
Sheriff Singleton also revealed that in 2020, staff had got wind that Casey White was plotting an escape; they shook him down and found a shank in his possession.
While the protocol to have two armed deputies transport a prisoner has always existed, this was emphasized in White’s case because of his previous escape attempt — and Deputy White knew this.
The Sheriff also said he had been in contact with the family of White’s alleged murder victim.
“Her two sons had been through a lot of trauma the last six or seven years… we thought we had closure for them to a point, and now that’s totally upside down,” he said. “I can’t imagine what they are going through, knowing that the man that killed their mother is out loose on the streets again.”
Casey White, he added, could face the death penalty if convicted.
“So he has nothing to lose,” he said. “For his violent past, he is extremely dangerous. And I want to emphasize as much as I can: there’s going to be some law enforcement officers somewhere in this country or somewhere in this state that’s going to come across this guy. and I can’t emphasize enough to our brothers and sisters in blue: Don’t take any chances with this guy. He’s dangerous.”
On Monday, the sheriff’s department released the most recent pictures of White, taken inside the jail last Tuesday:
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original story: 4/30/2022 12:02 PM PST
A murder suspect and a Sheriff’s Deputy are both missing — and nobody knows if it is a kidnapping or a plotted escape.
Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office employee Vicki White and inmate Casey Cole White — who are not related — have not been seen since 9:30 AM Friday morning. No one noticed they had disappeared until 6 hours later.
Officer White, who is the assistant director of corrections and a veteran of 25 years, left the detention center on Friday morning with the prisoner, telling the booking officer she was escorting him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. She said that after dropping him off, she planned to seek medical attention because she didn’t feel well.
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They haven’t been seen since.
According to Sheriff Rick Singleton, Deputy White’s marked 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center at around 11am Friday. But the alarm was not raised until 3.30 PM that day.
It was only when the booking officer tried to contact Officer White by phone, but kept getting sent to voicemail, did they realize something was amiss. They realized Casey White never showed up at the courthouse, and never returned to jail.
They also realized he had no mental health evaluations scheduled that day, WVTM reported. After calling local urgent care centers, there was no record of Officer White checking in, either.
The Sheriff’s Office issued a blue alert. “Casey White is being held on capital murder charges,” it warned. “If anyone should spot them contact 911 immediately and DO NOT APPROACH!”
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At a news conference Friday, Sheriff Singleton said his deputy broke protocol by attempting to transport a suspected murderer alone, calling it a “strict violation of policy”. A prisoner facing those kinds of charges must always be accompanied by at least two sworn deputies.
But because Officer White is so senior — and indeed is the one who coordinates all transports as head of operations — nobody questioned her.
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Sheriff Singleton described her as “an exemplary employee” who had been considering retiring soon.
He admitted he does not know if she was kidnapped — or she helped the prisoner escape.
“Did she assist him in escaping? That’s obviously a possibility,” Singleton said, per The Independent. “So we’re looking into that as one angle of the investigation — was she kidnapped en route to the courthouse and, you know, taken against her will?”
Either way, the Sheriff said her life is in danger, and they are working on the assumption inmate White is now in possession of her police issue 9mm handgun.
“Knowing the inmate, I think [Officer White] is in danger whatever the circumstances,” Singleton said. “He was in jail for capital murder. He has nothing to lose.”
White was being held on capital murder charges related to the 2015 fatal stabbing of 58-year-old mother Connie Ridgeway.
The case had been unsolved for five years until White — who was already in prison for a crime spree throughout Alabama and Tennessee — wrote a letter to authorities confessing to the killing.
Facebook / GoFundMe / Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
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