Everything we know about dead Alabama prison officer and murder suspect she disappeared with

·9-min read
Prison officer Vicky White (right) dead after going on run with inmate Casey Cole White (left)  (AP)
Prison officer Vicky White (right) dead after going on run with inmate Casey Cole White (left) (AP)

Alabama prison officer Vicky White died from a single gunshot wound to the head hours after she and escaped inmate Casey White were captured by law enforcement officials in Indiana.

The nationwide manhunt came to a dramatic end when Casey White, 38, surrendered and Vicky White, 56, was taken to hospital, where she later died, as they were finally tracked down after 10 days on the run.

Their escape from the Lauderdale county detention centre without a trace spurred a total $15,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the two and the issuing of a warning of a “serious threat” to the public.

The US Marshals Service finally captured the pair on Monday after receiving a tip on their Indiana location late on Sunday night, according to officials.

When officers arrived at the motel the pair were staying in, they saw the fugitives leaving and driving off in their Cadillac.

A brief pursuit began before officers rammed the couple’s car, causing it to flip in a ditch.

As officers approached the vehicle, they said they heard a single gunshot.

Ms White was found with a gunshot wound to the head. She was taken to Evansville Deaconess Midtown Hospital where she later died.

The coroner has since ruled her death a suicide.

Here’s what we know so far about the case:

The prison escape

The pair, who share the same surname but are unrelated, began their time on the run on 29 April after Ms White said she was taking the inmate for a mental health evaluation to check him out of jail.

She said she would leave to get medical care after dropping the inmate at the courthouse because she was not feeling well.

Authorities later found there was no evaluation or court hearing scheduled for the inmate and Ms White never made it to where she was supposed to get medical care, according to Lauderdale County sheriff Rick Singleton.

Ms White’s 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby shopping centre at around 11am that morning, the sheriff said.

But the alarm was only raised several hours later at around 3.30pm, when Ms White’s coworkers grew concerned she hadn’t returned and were unable to reach her by phone.

Investigators then learned from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center and other sources that the couple had been having a jailhouse romance for the last two years.

Ms White had also recently sold her home and filed for retirement just days before the pair vanished.

The suspected killer is seen reaching under his heavily-tattooed right arm (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)
The suspected killer is seen reaching under his heavily-tattooed right arm (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

Ms White’s mother said her daughter sold her home and moved in with her – but didn’t mention anything about her plans to retire.

She withdrew $90,000 in cash from the sale and used some of it to buy a 2007 Ford Edge – the couple’s first getaway car.

She also stocked up on firearms, according to US Marshals, and also bought men’s clothing and visited a sex shop.

The sheriff’s office issued a warrant for Ms White’s arrest for “permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree”.

Additional charges of second-degree forgery and identity theft were filed against her just hours before the capture.

Officials assumed White was armed with the corrections officer’s 9mm handgun and urged the public not to approach the “extremely dangerous” escapee, but to call 911 for any sighting.

Time on the run

After ditching her patrol car, the couple switched into the Ford Edge close to the shopping centre.

But they abandoned the vehicle in rural Tennessee just hours later.

The Ford Edge was found later on 29 April but was not immediately connected to the fugitives and was taken to a tow lot.

The couple used cash to buy a Ford F-150 pickup truck from a local man in Tennessee and drove to Evansville, where they abandoned that car in a local car wash and switched cars for a third and final time into the Cadillac that was later involved in the police chase.

On 3 May, the couple paid a homeless man to check them into Motel 41 in Evansville, Indiana, for a 14-night stay.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said that the Whites were “just trying to find a place to hide out and lay low”.

How the capture unfolded

The net closed in on the pair after surveillance footage captured White at a car wash in Evansville last Tuesday – where one of the getaway vehicles was also abandoned.

But, according to the car wash owner, authorities failed to act on his tip about the vehicle for almost a week, all the while the fugitives were holed up in a motel opposite the local sheriff’s office.

The Evansville Police Department shared footage of the aftermath of the car crash, showing the moment White was captured and Ms White was pulled from their vehicle with a gun in her hand.

Dashcam footage shows a patrol car racing to the grassy bank where the couple’s Cadillac was rammed off the road by law enforcement officers following the brief chase.

A group of officers are already on the scene and are seen pulling the six foot nine inch tall fugitive away from the car and pinning him to the ground.

Dashcam footage shows moment Casey White is captured (Evansville Police Department)
Dashcam footage shows moment Casey White is captured (Evansville Police Department)

White is placed in cuffs and held there for a few moments before the officers pull him to his feet and lead him away.

Dressed in black trousers, a white t-shirt with a blue shirt open over the top and dark sunglasses, the 38-year-old is seen glancing behind him back in the direction of the car where his lover remains trapped.

The Cadillac is seen flipped on its side in a ditch by the side of the road with other officers gathered around it and no sign of Ms White.

Separate bodycam footage shows Ms White’s limp body being pulled from the vehicle, gun still in hand.

White is alleged to have denied shooting the corrections officer, telling police: “Y’all help my wife, she shot herself in the head and I didn’t do it.” Despite his use of the term “wife”, authorities say they were not married.

Audio of a 911 call placed during the police pursuit also emerged in which Ms White is heard saying “let’s get out and run” seconds before the crash.

After his arrest, White told officers the couple planned to have a shootout with law enforcement.

Inside the car was a trove of firearms, around $29,000 in cash and various coloured wigs as disguises.

What we know about Vicky White

Ms White, 56, spent her whole life in the close-knit community of Lauderdale County and fell into a job in local law enforcement in 2006 when a role came up and she applied.

For the next 17 years, she rose up the ranks to become assistant director for the Lauderdale County Detention Center and was looked up to by her colleagues.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly, who has worked closely with her for the last 17 years, told The Independent that she was a “solid employee”.

Alabama prison official Vicki White (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)
Alabama prison official Vicki White (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

“She wasn’t a big talker but she was professional in her job and did it well. That’s why she was so well respected and trusted,” he said.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton also described her as an “exemplary employee” who had won the “employee of the year” award five times over the last eight years.

Ms White was due to be honoured in this year’s ceremony this week but it has now been put on hold.

She married once to a man called Tommy White. The couple, who didn’t have any children, divorced after around five years in 2006 due to Tommy’s issues with alcohol and drug addiction.

However, Tommy’s mother Frances White told The Independent that Ms White had remained close with both her and her son long after their divorce.

She said the former spouses were friends right up until his death at the age of 62 from Parkinson’s Disease in January – three months before the prison break.

What we know about Casey White

The 38-year-old inmate has a long rap sheet going back two decades, when he was arrested over a domestic violence incident involving his own mother in 2006.

Four years later in 2010, he pleaded guilty to attacking a male relative with an ax handle and was sentenced to six years in prison.

At the time of his prison escape, he was serving a 75-year sentence for a 2015 crime spree where he tried to murder his ex-girlfriend, held victims at gunpoint and shot a dog dead.

The same year he also allegedly murdered a 58-year-old mother-of-two for cash.

Escaped inmate Casey White arrives at the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Florence, Alabama, on Tuesday night (AP)
Escaped inmate Casey White arrives at the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Florence, Alabama, on Tuesday night (AP)

Connie Ridgeway was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Rogersville, Alabama, on 23 October 2015.

The case went unsolved for five years until White sent a letter to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office confessing to the crime and he was charged with two counts of capital murder.

He was awaiting trial for the murder when he went on the run with Ms White.

In the 10 days the couple were at large, officials warned that White was considered armed and dangerous.

He attempted a previous prison escape back in 2020, officials said, but his plot was foiled.

Officials in Alabama have now reopened an investigation into the 2008 shooting death of another girlfriend, which was – at the time – ruled a suicide.

What now?

White is now back behind bars at a high security prison in Alabama after he waived his right to extradition on Tuesday.

He appeared in Lauderdale County court on Tuesday night where he was charged with escape in the first degree.

DA Connolly told The Independent that he could face additional charges over the prison break and did not rule out bringing charges related to Ms White’s death.

White’s trial for the capital murder of Ms Ridgeway is scheduled to begin in June.

If convicted, he faces the death penalty.

Ms White’s funeral will be held in Lexington, Alabama, on Saturday, with some of her former colleagues expected to attend.