An Alabama corrections officer of 25 years disappeared Friday with an inmate charged with capital murder.
Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White left the Lauderdale County Jail jail at 9:41am Friday with inmate Casey White, Sheriff Rick Singleton told reporters at a press conference. (The two Whites are not related.) The officer told jail officials she was escorting White to a mental health evaluation at the courthouse, Singleton said. No such evaluation was ever scheduled.
Singleton said Vicki White dropped the inmate off at the courthouse and told a booking officer she was going to seek medical attention. When the officer attempted to contact her later that afternoon, her phone went straight to voicemail. That’s when jail officials registered that Casey White had not been returned to his cell, setting off a hunt for both the criminal and the corrections officer.
Casey White was charged with two counts of capital murder in September 2020 in the brutal
stabbing of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway. White was already serving time for a 2015 crime spree that involved a home invasion, carjacking, and police chase, according to local news station WHNT. He wrote a letter to corrections officials asking for Lt. Brad Potts with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, to whom he confessed about the murder and provided previously unreleased details. He was awaiting trial at the Lauderdale County Jail when he disappeared.
Singleton said Friday that the department was “still aggressively investigating and trying to figure out what happened” in the disappearance. Authorities were surveying the parking lot at a local shopping center where Vicki White’s patrol car was found empty on Friday morning, looking for video footage that could reveal another escape vehicle. The department was also reviewing Casey White’s jail logs and phone calls for additional clues. The FBI and other local law enforcement agencies are assisting with the search.
Authorities were also trying to discern whether there was a preexisting relationship between the two Whites. Singleton said Vicki White was an “exemplary employee” who had been voted supervisor of the year on several occasions. “Every employee in this office is shocked that she’s missing and this happened,” he said. “We’re in disbelief.”
The department would continue treating Vicki White’s disappearance as a kidnapping unless it found convincing evidence that she had helped the inmate escape, Singleton said. Either way, he added, “I think she’s in danger whatever the circumstances.”
“[Casey White] was in jail for capital murder,” Singleton said. “He has nothing to lose.”