(NewsNation) — The nationwide manhunt for an inmate charged with capital murder and a corrections officer believed to have played a role in his escape was intensifying Monday night.
Representatives from the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office initially seemed careful about what they said about Vicky White. Now, there’s a warrant out for the arrest of the assistant director of corrections.
The warrant alleges that on Friday, Vicky White helped Casey White escape the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence, Alabama. Sheriff Rick Singleton even said “it’s obvious” she facilitated White’s escape.
Authorities say Vicky White told her employees she was taking Casey White to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation, but she failed to make it to the courthouse and never returned the inmate to the jail.
Instead, investigators report that Vicky White dumped her patrol car in an area without a security camera about two miles from the detention center. She had left the facility with Casey White at 9:41 a.m. Just eight minutes later, the duo was spotted on surveillance footage recorded at a major intersection two blocks from where the car was found.
The sheriff’s office is following up on several leads, and the pair is being described as “armed and dangerous.” Based on a timeline provided by the sheriff’s office, they had a nearly six-hour head start before authorities started investigating the escape.
What we know about Casey White:
-He was awaiting trial in the stabbing death of a woman during a burglary.
-If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
-He was already serving a sentence for attempted murder and burglary when he disappeared.
-He has not been seen since Friday.
-The Marshals Service said 38-year-old Casey White is 6 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighs about 260 pounds.
-He has brown hair and hazel eyes.
-Though Casey White and Vicky White share the same last name, they are not related.
-When he was jailed two years ago, a policy requiring more than one officer to be with him during transport was established because authorities believed he was trying to escape.
What we know about Vicky White:
-At the time of her disappearance, she was the assistant director of corrections for the Lauderdale County Detention Center.
-She had been working for the department for around 16 years and was highly respected by colleagues.
-She told co-workers she was taking White to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation, though one was not on the schedule.
-She faces an arrest warrant over allegations she may have helped plan the escape.
-The day Vicky White vanished, she announced her retirement.
-Court documents show that she sold her home last month for $95,000.
As the search continues, many questions remain: Did Vicky White willingly help Casey White escape the detention center or was she coerced? Were Vicky White and Casey White engaged in a potential romantic relationship?
Singleton described Vicky White as the go-to person for anything at the detention center. He said she had no blemishes on her record prior to vanishing.
“We’re just in shock that she would have participated in something like this. But it’s obvious she facilitated this escape, whether it was willingly or coercion, and she’s involved in it. We’re trying desperately to follow every lead so we can get her and especially Casey White back in custody,” Singleton said.
As the investigation unfolds, authorities are taking a closer look at surveillance footage from inside the jail and asking inmates and family members about the nature of the relationship between Vicky White and Casey White.
“As the assistant director of operations … White was all over the jail frequently; she was up and down the halls. She had contact with every inmate in the facility. So, you know, she obviously had contact with Casey White,” Singleton said. “We don’t know if there was a romantic relationship between the two or not. We’ve gotten information from some of the inmates now that there was, but you know, when something like this happens, you get all sorts of information from inmates and you don’t just take it for its word. You have to look into it. But we’ve been doing that and, you know, trying to determine if there was a relationship. We’re checking phone records.”
The overarching question among community members is – How could this have happened?
“She [Vicky White] was in charge of arranging all transports. Just minutes prior to Vicky White leaving the facility with Casey White, we had two vans with inmates go to the courthouse for court appearances. One van had seven inmates, two deputies. The second van had five inmates, two deputies,” Singleton said.
He added, “She’s a supervisor over all these people. There were no other armed certified deputies there. So what she told the corrections officer was true, but now we think that she probably orchestrated all that so that they would all be gone.”
Meanwhile, Singleton has messages for both Vicky White and Casey White: “To Vicky: Your co-workers are just devastated. You need to get back here and we need to get this straightened out. To Casey White: We will find you. You will be back in prison. You better be looking over your shoulder.”
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of Casey White and the location of Vicky White. Anyone with information is urged to submit tips at 800-336-0102.