By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Florence, AL – Authorities have shared more details about the escape of an Alabama inmate that was facilitated by a jail official who engaged in a two-year relationship with the murder suspect before she broke him out.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton announced on Monday morning that a warrant has been issued for 56-year-old LCSO Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White for first-degree permitting or facilitating an escape.
Asst. Director White was supposedly transporting 38-year-old capital murder suspect Casey White to the courthouse for a hearing at approximately 9:30 a.m. on April 29 when they both disappeared, the sheriff’s office said in a press release on the afternoon of April 29.
Sheriff Singleton released a statement on Thursday that said Asst. Director White had been in contact with Casey White, no relation, for two years while he was incarcerated in a state prison in Donaldson, WVTM reported.
“He was here in 2020 for an arraignment and preliminary hearing, and when he finished that, he went back to state prison,” Sheriff Singleton said. “We do know they remained in touch while he was in state prison.”
The sheriff said prison records revealed Asst. Director White regularly spoke to Casey White on the phone while he was incarcerated, NBC News reported.
Casey White was serving a sentence of 75 years for violent crime convictions.
He allegedly confessed to the 2015 murder of Connie Ridgeway while he was serving a state prison sentence for other offenses in 2020, the Associated Press reported.
The inmate was still facing capital murder charges for allegedly stabbing that 58-year-old woman to death when Asst. Director White allegedly helped him escape from the Lauderdale County Detention Center.
Sheriff Singleton said that it wasn’t unusual for Asst. Director White to personally transport an inmate to court if all of the other transport officers were already gone when a judge requested the presence of an inmate in court, WVTM reported.
So when she told a correctional officer to get Casey White ready for transport on April 29 because she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation, it didn’t raise any suspicions, the sheriff explained.
It wasn’t until Asst. Director White never arrived with Casey White at the courthouse and couldn’t be raised on the radio or her telephone that an alarm was raised.
Investigators later discovered there was no mental health evaluation scheduled for Casey White the day of the transport.
Asst. Director White had also told her co-workers she had a doctor’s appointment of her own on April 29, but the clinic confirmed she never showed up.
Authorities found the abandoned sheriff’s department vehicle in a shopping center nowhere near the courthouse, WVTM reported.
Sheriff Singleton said the escape had been carefully planned out, NBC News reported.
Asst. Director White filed her retirement papers a day before she disappeared with Casey White.
Court records showed she sold her house far below market value on April 18, NBC News reported.
Lauderdale County records show list the home’s total parcel value to be $204,700 but it sold for just $95,550, WVTM reported.
Authorities think the corrections official was trying to get her hands on fast cash.
Sheriff Singleton told reporters he didn’t believe there were any other jail employees involved in the scheme, WVTM reported.
“She had knowledge that the general public doesn’t have about how the system works and she obviously has played that to her advantage,” the sheriff said. “And there again, that is why I don’t think anyone else was involved in it because it is such an intricate plan and she pulled it off.”
He said other inmates told investigators that Asst. Director White had engaged in a “special relationship” with Casey White while he was at Lauderdale County including giving him special privileges like extra food, WVTM reported.
The sheriff said Asst. Director White had to know how things were going to end.
“She has been in this business 17 years,” Sheriff Singleton told reporters. “She has seen this scenario play out numerous times over her career, and she knows how it all ends they always get caught.”
There is a nationwide manhunt underway for the missing pair, WVTM reported.
“My biggest fear with them out there is that someone is going to get hurt,” the sheriff said. “He is a dangerous man that is why we need to get him off the road.”
Lifelong friends have defended Asst. Director White, WVTM reported.
“I have known Vicky all my life. There is no way she is guilty of this,” Debbie Burbank said. “Somehow she was forced.”