Alabama corrections officer and capital murder suspect missing after claiming to go to mental health exam

Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White and suspected killer Casey Cole White vanished without a trace on Friday morning after leaving the local jail together

Rachel Sharp
Saturday 30 April 2022 15:54
<p>Casey Cole White vanished on Friday along with a corrections officer </p>

Casey Cole White vanished on Friday along with a corrections officer

An Alabama corrections officer and an inmate accused of capital murder have gone missing after the female officer claimed she was taking him to a mental health evaluation.

Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White and suspected killer Casey Cole White vanished without a trace on Friday morning after leaving the local jail together, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said that Ms White, who is no relation to the inmate, picked him up from the detention centre at around 9.30am claiming that she was to take 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.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said at a press conference on Friday that they have since learned that there was no mental health evaluation or court appointment scheduled for Mr White on Friday.

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

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

It was only then that they also realised that Mr White had also not returned to jail.

A search is now underway to track down the pair with the sheriff warning that the corrections officer is “in danger”.

“Knowing the inmate, I think she’s in danger whatever the circumstances,” he said.

“He was in jail for capital murder, and he had nothing to lose.”

Casey Cole White is being held on capital murder charges

Officials are assuming that Mr White is now armed with the corrections officer’s 9mm handgun and are urging the public not to approach the “extremely dangerous” escapee but to call 911 with any sightings.

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 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.

However, officials said they are keeping an open mind about the circumstances surrounding their disappearance, saying that they are exploring all possibilities including that Ms White may have been kidnapped or may have helped the inmate escape.

“Whether she assisted him or not, we don’t know, and we won’t address that until we have absolute proof that that’s what happened,” said the sheriff.

“We are assuming at this point that she was taken against her will, unless we can absolutely prove otherwise.”

Vicki White said she was taking the inmate to the courthouse

Ms White has been “an exemplary employee” for the department for the last 25 years and had been talking about retiring soon, the sheriff said.

Mr White was being held on capital murder charges over the 2015 slaying 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, who was already behind bars after being convicted of a crime spree in both Alabama and Tennessee, sent a letter to authorities confessing to the crime.

In 2020, Mr White was charged with two counts of capital murder.

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