Missing inmate, corrections officer had ‘special relationship’: Sheriff

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Casey White and corrections officer Vicki White have been missing since Friday.

The corrections officer and escaped murder suspect who have been missing for days had “a special relationship,” the local sheriff confirmed.

Inmate Casey White and Lauderdale County Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White — who are not related — went missing from Florence, Alabama, on Friday.

“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,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement Tuesday. “That relationship has now been confirmed through our investigation by independent sources and means.”

They “should be considered dangerous and may be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun,” the U.S. Marshals Service warned on Tuesday.

Vicki White, 56, “participated” in the escape with Casey White, 38, Singleton said Monday, adding, “Whether she did that willingly or she was coerced, threatened … not really sure.”

They may be driving a 2007 orange or copper Ford Edge with minor damage to the left back bumper, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Casey White was charged with two counts of capital murder in September 2020 for the stabbing of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway, authorities said. He could face the death penalty if convicted, the sheriff said.

Casey White previously planned an escape from the Lauderdale County Detention Center in the fall of 2020, but officials thwarted the plot before he could attempt it, Singleton said. When officials got word of the plot, they found a homemade knife in his possession and learned that he was planning to take a hostage, the sheriff said. Casey White was subsequently transferred to a state prison, where he remained until February 2022, when he returned to the Lauderdale County facility for court appearances related to the murder charge, the sheriff said.

Singleton told ABC News that Casey White and Vicki White were communicating after he was transferred from the county jail to state custody. The nature of that communication was not immediately clear.

On Friday morning, Vicki White allegedly told her colleagues that she was taking Casey White to the Lauderdale County Courthouse for a “mental health evaluation,” though he didn’t have a court appearance scheduled, Singleton said. Vicki White violated policy by escorting Casey White alone, the sheriff said.

Vicki White also allegedly told her colleagues that she was going to seek medical attention after dropping the inmate off at court because she wasn’t feeling well, but Singleton said his office confirmed that no appointment was made.

Vicki White had been talking about retiring for the last few months and turned in her paperwork on Thursday, Singleton told ABC News. Friday — the day the two went missing — was set to be her last day at work, he said.

A warrant was issued for Vicki White charging her with permitting or facilitating escape.

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 reward for information leading to Casey White’s capture and a $5,000 reward for information leading to Vicky White.

Marty Keely, U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Alabama, noted that Casey White may stand out due to his height — he’s 6 feet, 9 inches tall. Anyone who sees them is urged to call 911, Keely said.

Singleton called Vicki White, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, “an exemplary employee.”

“The employees are just devastated,” the sheriff said. “Nobody saw this coming.”