LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — Officials in northern Alabama are searching for a corrections officer and a man charged with capital murder that the officer was transporting to court, after both went missing Friday, authorities said.
Vicky White, the assistant director of corrections in Lauderdale County, and inmate Casey Cole White, who is not related to the deputy, have not been seen since around 9:30 a.m. CDT Friday, WTVM reported.
Update 11:42 a.m. EDT May 2: Officials are piecing together what happened. There is a warrant issued for Vicky White after the sheriff said she participated in the escape of Casey Cole White, AL.com reported.
The warrant was issued for “permitting or assisting in an escape,” Sheriff Rick Singleton said, according to The Associated Press.
Singleton said Monday that Casey Cole White’s escape was “orchestrated” and that the assistant director of corrections played a role.
Singleton said the escape was a surprise.
“Nobody saw this coming,” he said Monday morning, according to AL.com.
Officials said that Vicky White had submitted her retirement papers on Thursday with Friday scheduled to be her last day, Singleton told WBRC.
“We consider both of them dangerous and in all probability both of them are armed,” U.S. Marshal Marty Keely said Monday, the AP reported.
Update 1:16 p.m. EDT May 1: The U.S. Marshals Service said it is offering up to a $10,000 reward for information leading authorities to Vicky White, the assistant director of corrections in Lauderdale County, and murder suspect Casey Cole White.
“Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the corrections officer and the public,” said U.S. Marshal Marty Keely.
Information can be provided at the USMS Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102. Anonymous tips may also be submitted via the U.S. Marshals Tip App.
Update 5:56 p.m. EDT April 30: Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement that the evidence in the disappearance of Alabama corrections officer Vicky White and capital murder suspect Casey Cole White is pointing toward the deputy helping the inmate escape.
“The question is: did she do so willingly or was she coerced into doing it by inmate White by threatening her and/or her family or other means,” Singleton said Saturday afternoon. “Our secondary focus is on investigating the escape itself.
“Indications are, since no court appearance was scheduled, that AD (assistant director) White assisted in the escape.”
Update 1:47 p.m. EDT April 30: Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton told AL.com in a text on Saturday that there was “no new information.”
“The FBI, US Marshals Service, and ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) are assisting and have made all their resources available to us,” the sheriff wrote.
Original report: The two left a detention center at about 9:41 a.m. CDT and Vicky White, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 25 years, reportedly told colleagues she was taking the inmate to the courthouse for a mental evaluation, AL.com reported.
At a news conference Friday, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said no evaluation or court appearance had been scheduled for Casey White.
The 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car the corrections official used to transport the inmate was found at about 11 a.m. CDT at a shopping center in Florence, AL.com reported. The sheriff’s office became aware that the two were missing when calls to Vicky White’s cellphone went straight to voicemail, WTVM reported.
Singleton said Vicky White violated sheriff’s office protocol by escorting him alone, WTVM reported. The corrections officer coordinates all transports from the detention center to court and knew the protocol, the sheriff added.
“We’re still aggressively investigating, trying to find out what happened and find the location of Deputy White and inmate White,” Singleton said during the news conference. “Knowing the inmate, I think she’s in danger whatever the circumstances. He was in jail for capital murder, and he had nothing to lose.”
Singleton said his office is looking at all possibilities, including if Vicky White helped the inmate escape, AL.com reported. Casey White is 6 feet, 6 inches tall. The sheriff said Vicky White was armed with a 9 mm handgun, “which means we are assuming he is armed.”
“Whether she assisted him or not, we don’t know, and we won’t address that until we have absolute proof that that’s what happened. We are assuming at this point that she was taken against her will unless we can absolutely prove otherwise,” Singleton added.
Vicky White has been with the corrections division of the sheriff’s office for nearly 17 years and was promoted to assistant director when Singleton was elected sheriff, he told CNN.
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