Alabama officer Vicky White, escaped inmate Casey White had 'special relationship,' sheriff says

As the search for an Alabama correctional officer and inmate who disappeared together stretched into its sixth day, authorities have revealed the pair had a "special relationship" that extended out of the officer's normal work hours and included special privileges for the inmate.

Authorities say Assistant Director for Corrections Vicky White, 56, and inmate, Casey White, 38, vanished together Friday after leaving a northern Alabama jail. Police also released surveillance video Tuesday with the last known sighting of the pair as they left the facility.

After an investigation that included interviews with other inmates at the Florence, Alabama, jail, police determined Casey White was receiving extra food and other "privileges no one else got" from Vicky White, Sheriff Rick Singleton told CNN. He also said "all indications" point to Vicky White willingly helping Casey White escape.

Due to the escape and her apparent part in it, Vicky White was fired, Singleton told local outlet Wednesday. Vicky White, a 16-year veteran of the sheriff's office, was working her last day Friday after turning in paperwork to retire. He said her termination would bar her from receiving state-funded pension contributions.

She'd also recently sold her home, which sat on a sprawling 4 acres of property. The home sold for $95,500, well below the market value for the area, only 12 days before her disappearance, local ABC affiliate WAAY 31 reported.

This video grab taken from a handout footage released by Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department shows Casey White, an inmate at the Lauderdale Co. Detention Facility escaping with the help of Vicky White, the assistant director of Alabama corrections on April 29. 2022.

"We have confirmed through independent sources and other means that there was in fact a relationship between Casey White and Vicky White outside of her normal work hours," Singleton said. "Not physical contact, but a relationship of a different nature."

The two individuals are not related. Authorities issued an arrest warrant Monday for Vicky White and had initially said she "participated" in the escape. The charges against the officer include permitting or facilitating escape of the inmate.

Singleton also said he'd be "surprised" if the pair were still in Alabama.

Surveillance footage released by authorities Tuesday showed the inmate, who was donning shackles and handcuffs, being escorted by the officer out of the Lauderdale County Detention Center and into her patrol vehicle.

Vicky White was armed when she left the jail with Casey White for what she told colleagues was a mental health evaluation for the inmate at a courthouse Friday morning, but no such evaluation was scheduled for that day, Singleton said.

Instead, surveillance video shows the pair drove directly to a parking lot where her patrol vehicle was found abandoned later that day. The pair wasn't discovered missing until six hours after they left the jail.

The U.S. Marshals Service said the pair might be traveling in a 2007 orange or copper colored Ford Edge with minor damage on the rear left bumper. They may be armed with various weapons, including an AR-15 rifle, the agency said in a statement.

Vicky White's actions Friday morning were likely not questioned because of her rank at the detention center, the sheriff told CNN.

"Being the boss over the transport, she just informed the booking officer that she was going to carry him to the courthouse and drop him off, which was a flagrant violation of policy," Singleton said. "But I'm sure because it was her boss, the booking officer didn't question it."

Casey White, 38, was serving a 75-year prison sentence for kidnapping and attempted murder charges when he vanished. While in custody, he also confessed to the 2015 killing of a woman, 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway, who was stabbed to death in her home. He was set to go to trial for that case next month.

Casey White is believed to be a "serious threat to the corrections officer and the public," Marty Keely, the U.S. marshal for northern Alabama, said, and Singleton called him "an extremely dangerous person."

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to Casey White's capture, and up to $5,000 for information on the location of Vicky White, according to a release from the department.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alabama inmate, guard had 'special relationship,' sheriff says