New surveillance footage has been released showing Alabama corrections officer Vicky White at a hotel just hours before she vanished with the capital murder suspect with whom she has allegedly been in a “special relationship” for the last two years.
The video, shared by the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, shows Ms White pacing in front of the reception desk at a Quality Inn at around 5.21am on Friday 29 April.
The 56-year-old, who is dressed in a dark sweatshirt with her blonde hair worn loose around her shoulders, peers over the counter before walking away.
The footage was captured on the morning of the prison breakout, with officials saying Ms White stayed at the budget hotel for two nights before going on the run with convict Casey Cole White.
Sheriff Rick Singleton said that the Quality Inn is next to the shopping centre where the couple abandoned Ms White’s patrol car in the parking lot and transferred into a getaway vehicle.
The US Marshals Service announced on Friday that the getaway car, a 2007 Ford Edge, had been found along a rural road in Tennessee around two hours north of the Lauderdale County jail.
The car had actually been located just hours after the pair disappeared and was taken to a tow lot in Williamson County – but its connection to the case was only realised last week.
Officials admitted that this marked another “setback” in the manhunt after they already had a six-hour headstart before jail staff even noticed them missing.
The discovery came as the huge manhunt for the fugitives entered its second week and investigators said Ms White and the escaped inmate had been in a relationship for the last two years.
Sheriff Singleton said that there is evidence that the two had been in contact since 2020 when White was transferred out of the county jail after he was rumbled plotting another prison escape.
Ms White allegedly visited him in a state facility after that and communicated with him by phone.
White was then transferred back to the local jail in February and had received special privileges including extra food on his trays from the corrections officer since then, officials said.
Ms White had also sold her home just five weeks earlier for well below its market value, withdrew cash and filed for retirement days before the pair vanished.
Her last day of work was the day she vanished, though her retirement papers had not been finalised, said the sheriff.
She had moved in with her mother after selling her home, before allegedly staying at the hotel in the lead-up to the prison break.
Her mother previously said that she knew nothing about her daughter’s plans to retire and had never heard her speak of White.
A warrant is out for both of their arrests and a reward of $15,000 is being offered for information leading to their capture.
The sheriff’s office said that Ms White, who is not related to the inmate, picked him up from the detention centre at around 9.30am on 29 April claiming that she was taking him for a mental health evaluation at Lauderdale County Courthouse.
She told her coworkers that once she had escorted him to court she was going to seek medical attention for herself as she felt unwell.
They never arrived at the courthouse and neither the corrections officer nor the inmate have been seen since.
Sheriff Singleton said that they later learned that White had no scheduled court appearance or appointments that day.
Ms White’s 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a shopping centre not far from the jail at around 11am that day.
Sheriff Singleton said that Ms White, who coordinates all inmate transportation, broke protocol by taking the inmate out of the jail alone.
Due to the severity of charges against Mr White and his previous prison break attempt, it is policy that he must be escorted by two sworn deputies at all times including when he is transported to and from the courthouse.
But, despite the breach, the alarm was only raised several hours after the pair left the jail on Friday morning.
At around 3.30pm that afternoon, Ms White’s coworkers grew concerned that she hadn’t returned and they were unable to reach her by phone.
It was only then that they also realised that Mr White had also not returned to jail.
Members of the public have been urged to call authorities and not to approach the escapees, who are considered “dangerous” and may be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun.
White is awaiting trial on capital murder charges over the 2015 stabbing murder of 58-year-old mother Connie Ridgeway.
Ms Ridgeway was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Rogersville, Alabama, on 23 October 2015.
The case went unsolved for five years until Mr White sent a letter to authorities confessing to the crime.
At the time he was already behind bars serving a 75-year sentence after being convicted of a crime spree in both Alabama and Tennessee.
The spree includes a home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, with White shooting one person and holding six at gunpoint.
In 2020, Mr White was charged with two counts of capital murder over the killing of Ms Ridgeway.
The Marshals Service said that White had also threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister in 2015, and previously said that he wanted to be killed by police.
In the early aftermath of the prison escape, the sheriff described Ms White as and “exemplary employee” who had worked as a corrections officer for more than two decades.
It has since emerged that she helped to orchestrate the escape of the man she is in some sort of relationship with, according to officials.
Authorities have released images of how Ms White would look if she changed her blonde hair to a darker colour or shorter cut.
They also released pictures of White’s distinctive tattoos including symbols tied to white supremacist groups and what appears to be a Confederate flag.