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The family of an Alabama jail official who disappeared with a murder inmate on Friday says she was a ‘sweet person’ who wouldn’t have helped a ‘killer’ escape, as investigators zero in on ‘bogus claims’ she made before picking him up from jail.
Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White, 56, picked up inmate Casey White, 38, from the Lauderdale County Jail at 9:41am.
She told a booking officer she was taking him to the county courthouse for a mental health evaluation, but no such evaluation was scheduled that day. She also said she was going to a medical appointment for herself, which also never happened.
An hour and a half later, they were both missing and her patrol car was found abandoned at a nearby shopping center.
‘All indications are that Director White was involved and participated in the escape,’ Lauderdale Sheriff Rick Singleton told WBRC.
However, Frances White, Vicky’s former mother-in-law, told DailyMail.com on Sunday that the accusations against Vicky don’t match the ‘awfully good person’ she knows.
‘I can’t understand her leaving with a guy she knew was a murderer,’ said Frances, 88, who said she last spoke to her about a month ago. ‘If he killed one person, he’d kill another.’
The jails guard divorced White’s son 16 years ago after being married for just a few years, but the mother-in-law said the two remained friendly until his death in January.
Vicky White, assistant director of corrections for the sheriff’s department, was missing on Friday evening, having collected Casey Cole White (no relation) from county jail
Lauderdale Sheriff Rick Singleton announced on Saturday that Vicky’s patrol car was found abandoned in a parking lot about an hour and a half after she ‘broke protocol’ to transport Casey
Vicky had been with the Sheriff’s Department for 25 years, and had recently spoken about quitting, with Law and Crime reporting that she had turned in her retirement papers on Thursday.
A manhunt for Vicky White and Casey White, who are not related, is ongoing.
The US Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information about the pair.
On Friday, Sheriff Singleton said that while evidence points to Vicky helping Casey escape, her motivations are unclear.
‘We are trying to determine was that done willfully, or was she somehow coerced or threatened into participating?’ Singleton said, pointing to the various excuses she used to justify breaking protocol by taking Casey out of jail without other officers present.
The jail official was armed with a 9mm handgun when she claimed she was taking Casey for an evaluation that wasn’t ever scheduled. She said she would then head to a medical appointment for herself that also turned out to not take place.
‘It was all bogus,’ Singleton said. ‘That leads us to believe that she was involved.’
Casey should have always had two deputies with him, he said.
The sheriff said it would be nearly impossible for Casey to get out of his handcuffs and free himself without any help, but he added that helping Casey would be out of character for Vicky.
‘I don’t think there’s any question she assisted, but to do it willingly would be so out of character for the Vicki White we all know,’ he said.
On Saturday, Singleton said investigators are still treating the case as if she was taken against her will.
‘Knowing the inmate, I think she’s in danger, whatever the circumstances,’ the sheriff said. ‘He was in jail for capital murder and he had nothing to lose.
‘Whether she assisted him or not, we don’t know and we won’t address that until we have absolute proof that’s what happened,’ he added, noting: ‘We are assuming at this point that she was taken against her will, unless we can prove otherwise.’
Frances White, Vicky’s former mother-in-law, also has a hard time believing she would have cooperated with Casey, who confessed to killing a 58-year-old woman while serving a 75-year sentence for a string of crimes, including animal cruelty for shooting a dog.
Frances, 88, says Vicky was married to her son Tommy White more than 16 years ago for about two to three years, eventually leaving him when his drug problems got bad.
‘I read it in the paper this morning,’ she told DailyMail.com on Sunday afternoon. ‘She left with that man. I said, “I can’t see her doing that. She wasn’t that kind of person.’
Vicky and Tommy were married for about three years, Frances said, raising cattle on a farm right across the street from her home.
‘She raised baby cows and stuff, and she worked hard,’ Frances said.
She added that Vicky remained close with her and her son even after the divorce. Tommy died in January after struggles with Parkinson’s Disease.
‘Before my son got to where he couldn’t drive, Vicky would always – she would come out to the car and help him in.
‘We still was really good friends. She was a really sweet person,’ Frances said.
The US Marshals Service said Sunday that it is offering up to $10,000 for information about an escaped inmate and a ‘missing and endangered’ correctional officer who disappeared Friday after the two left a jail in north Alabama.
Singleton said that officials with the Sheriff’s Department first became suspicious at around 3.30pm Friday, when officers at the jail realized Vicky had never returned.
They repeatedly tried to call her, he said, but her phone kept going to voicemail.
That’s when they realized Casey had never returned to the jail.
He is descried as six-foot-nine, and is considered armed and dangerous.
Casey was first arrested in December 2015 for the murder of Connie Ridgeway, who was found stabbed to death in a killing that shocked the small town of Rogersville – about 50 mi west of Huntsville.
Connie Ridgeway (center) is pictured with her sons Austin and Cameron. Casey killed her in October 2015 in what he said was a contract hit. No motive has ever been given
White is seen during the hearing in the case of Ridgeway’s murder in 2020
It remains unclear why she was killed.
People said she was known for her friendliness and willingness to help others, and the community for many years held a vigil every October in her memory.
Casey’s arrest at the age of 32 finally came after he engaged in a crime spree across Tennessee and Alabama.
In one night, he staged a home invasion, two carjackings and multiple shootings that left a dog dead and a woman injured.
The crimes were followed by a chase, where speeds reached more than 100 miles per hour, WHNT reported.
It ended with a stolen car stuck in a field south of Huntsville, and officers – who were evidently well known to him – pleading with him to put down his gun and give himself up.
Police are pictured in December 2015 taking Casey White into custody after a wild rampage across Tennessee and Alabama that ended in a 100mph car chase, and his stolen car stuck in a field
White got out of the vehicle with a gun and threatened to shoot officers and himself unless he could speak with Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely.
Body-cam footage shows deputies attempting to get White to surrender by offering him smokeless tobacco and Sun Drop citrus soda while they waited for Blakely to arrive.
Casey White was found guilty of a total of nine charges, including trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates. Other charges included first degree robbery, first degree burglary, third degree burglary, breaking and entering a vehicle, animal cruelty for shooting a dog and attempting to elude.
He was sentenced in April 2019 to 75 years in prison.
In June 2020, he wrote to Lauderdale County requesting a meeting with the sheriffs office, and confessed to killing Ridgeway – providing a detailed description of the crime scene.
He said he was paid to kill her, although no motive for hiring a hitman has ever been disclosed.
In October 2020, Casey White, aged 37, appeared in court for an arraignment hearing, and requested to stay at the Lauderdale County Jail instead of going back to prison, WAFF reported.
His request was denied, after authorities said they believed that he was plotting to escape the Lauderdale County Jail.
They had found a makeshift knife, stashed in the showers, and suspected White was intending on using it to force someone to let him out.
‘We got information yesterday that he had made a shank and he intended to escape today and take a hostage,’ said Connolly, Lauderdale County district attorney, during the hearing.
‘Our deputies did a great job.
‘Found the shank and eliminated that threat this morning so we obviously aren’t equipped to house somebody like that for that long term in our jail, so we are happy that the judge ordered him to go back to the department of corrections.’
White, having confessed, then pleaded not guilty, on grounds of insanity.