Alabama inmate returns to jail as 10-day prison break comes to end with death of corrections officer lover

While Casey White was booked into jail in Indiana in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Vicky White died from a gunshot wound to the head

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 10 May 2022 16:40 BST
Casey White manhunt: Alabama corrections officer dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound

The escaped Alabama inmate Casey Cole White has finally returned to jail after his 10-day prison break came to a dramatic end with a car chase and the death of his corrections officer lover.

White, a 38-year-old capital murder suspect already serving 75 years in prison for a multi-state crime spree, was booked into Vanderburgh County jail in Evansville, Indiana, at around 1.42am on Tuesday, according to booking records.

He appeared in court virtually later that morning where he waived his right to an extradition hearing, telling Judge Robert Pigman: “I want to go back to Alabama.”

Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office released a new mugshot of the escapee dressed in yellow prison garb and staring sullenly at the camera.

The photo shows White has adopted a clean-shaven look – having gotten rid of the moustache and goatee he sported before his time on the run in images shared by law enforcement during the manhunt.

The convict is said to be cooperating with authorities following his arrest.

White and corrections officer Vicky White were tracked down to Evansville, Indiana, and were taken into custody following a brief car chase on Monday evening.

The 38-year-old surrendered to authorities on the scene while Ms White, 56, was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, according to officials.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steven Lockyear later confirmed that she had died from her injuries just after 7pm.

Officials initially said that she had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

US Marshal Martin Keeley told CNN on Monday night that White instantly told officers that Ms White had caused the injuries to herself.

“Y’all help my wife, she shot herself in the head and I didn’t do it,” he allegedly said.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Whites, who are not related, are married.

Casey White pictured in his new mugshot after being returned to jail following a 10-day manhunt
Casey White pictured in his new mugshot after being returned to jail following a 10-day manhunt (Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office )

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton told NewsNationNow’s Brian Entin that officials weren’t ruling anything out and that he would not be surprised if Ms White’s gunshot wound was actually not self-inflicted.

Sheriff Singleton, who was Ms White’s boss and worked with her for many years, said that no law enforcement officers opened fire during the encounter.

An autopsy will be carried out on Tuesday to determine cause and manner of death.

The sheriff had said earlier that he hoped Ms White would survive, saying that she has “many questions to answer”.

The net closed in on the suspects after authorities received a tip from a member of the public that they were staying at a hotel in Evansville.

US Marshal Matt Keely said that officers began surveillance and spotted Ms White exiting the hotel dressed in a wig.

She and White then got into a cadillac and drove away.

At that point, law enforcement gave chase, before US Marshals rammed the couple’s car off the road to bring it to a stop, causing it to roll over.

The cadillac that the fugitives were driving in is towed away on Monday
The cadillac that the fugitives were driving in is towed away on Monday (Denny Simmons)

US Marshals said that the convict was immediately removed from the car and surrendered but that Ms White was pinned inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound.

Once she was taken to hospital, officials said that her condition was “grave” before her death was confirmed around an hour later.

Contradictory reports have been given by authorities around who was behind the wheel at the time.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said the couple appear to have been in Indiana for six days before their capture since 3 May when surveillance footage captured the inmate at a local car wash.

“It’s hard to believe they were here that many days. They’re criminals, sometimes they do things that are inexplicable, but I’m glad they did,” he told reporters on Monday evening.

Surveillance footage, shared as stills by officials on Monday afternoon, showed the capital murder suspect entering the Weinbach Car Wash in Evansville, Indiana, last Tuesday.

US Marshal Commander of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force Chad Hunt told The Independent that officials had confirmed that White is the man in the image.

Corrections officer Vicky White, who is believed to have been in a romantic relationship with him for the last two years, was not spotted at the car wash, he said.

Vicky White from a gunshot wound to the head
Vicky White from a gunshot wound to the head (Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

Investigators descended on the business on Monday following a tip off that a 2006 Ford F-150 had been found abandoned there last Wednesday.

The owner of the car wash then provided investigators with the images of White from the surveillance cameras.

US Marshals believe the truck was used by the inmate and corrections officer during their time on the run.

Evansville is about 175 miles north of Williamson County, Tennessee, where the couple abandoned their first getaway car – a rust-coloured 2007 Ford Edge.

On Friday, the US Marshals Service announced that the Ford Edge had been found along a rural road in Tennessee around a two hour drive north of the Lauderdale County jail where the inmate was being held prior to his 29 April prison break.

Officials said the couple left the jail in Ms White’s patrol car before abandoning the vehicle in the parking lot of a nearby shopping centre and changing into the getaway car.

However, officials believe they were forced to switch vehicles again after the Ford Edge broke down.

The Ford Edge was actually 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 on Friday.

The second getaway vehicle had been reported missing near Nashville, Tennessee, sometime after the Ford Edge was found abandoned.

Officials admitted that the time lapse in identifying the Ford Edge as the getaway car marked another “setback” in the manhunt after the couple already had a six-hour headstart before jail staff even noticed them missing.

Casey White is spotted on surveillance footage at a car wash in Indiana
Casey White is spotted on surveillance footage at a car wash in Indiana (US Marshals Service)

White will now face fresh charges over the prison escape. It is not yet clear if he will face any charges related to Ms White’s death.

Sheriff Singleton said that he will be returned to the same facility that he broke out of as he vowed to ensure he would never escape again.

“He will be in a cell by himself. He will stay in handcuffs and shackles while he’s in that cell and if he wants to sue me for violating his civil rights, so be it,” he said.

“He’s not getting out of this jail again. I’ll assure you that.”

Before her death, Ms White had also been charged with permitting/aiding an escape, identity theft and second-degree forgery.

Sheriff Singleton said that the couple had been in what he described as a “jailhouse romance” or “special relationship” for the last two years.

He said that there is evidence that they 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 communicated with him by phone before the inmate was then transferred back to the local jail in February.

On his return, White had received special treatment from the corrections officer including being given extra food on his trays, officials said.

Ms White had also sold her home just five weeks earlier for well below its market value, withdrew $90,000 in cash from her bank accounts and filed for retirement days before the pair vanished.

Her last day of work was the day she disappeared, though her retirement papers had not been finalised.

After selling her home, she moved in with her mother who previously said that she knew nothing about her daughter’s plans to retire and had never heard her speak of White.

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.

Skid marks on the grassy area from the car crash resulting in their capture
Skid marks on the grassy area from the car crash resulting in their capture (Denny Simmons)

They never arrived at the courthouse.

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 coordinated all inmate transportation, broke protocol by taking the inmate out of the jail alone.

Due to the severity of charges against 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 White had also not returned to jail.

White is awaiting trial on capital murder charges over the 2015 stabbing murder of 58-year-old mother Connie Ridgeway.

Wanted poster for Casey Cole White
Wanted poster for Casey Cole White (US Marshals Service)

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 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, 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 an “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 was in some sort of relationship with, according to officials.

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