Officials now suspect that an Alabama corrections officer willingly helped a murder suspect escape last week, according to a sheriff in comments published Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement officials said that Casey Cole White, 38, disappeared last week with prison official Vicky White, who officials said are not related. Casey White was currently serving a prison term for a number of charges, but he was still facing trial for capital murder and could face the death penalty.
Casey White was charged with two counts of murder in the slaying of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway, while the U.S. Marshals Service said that he was facing a 75-year sentence for a separate crime spree that included a police chase, a home invasion, and a carjacking.
“I think all of our employees and myself included were really hoping that she did not participate in this willingly. But all indications are that she absolutely did,” Singleton said. “We’re very disappointed in that because we had the utmost trust in her as an employee and as an assistant director of corrections.”
The sheriff added: “We know that they maintained contact while he was in the department of corrections up to and including until he was returned here Feb. 25 of this year.”
Earlier this week, officials said that the pair had a “special relationship,” without elaborating. Meanwhile, Singleton told news outlets that other prisoners told officials that the two were romantically involved.
The U.S. Marshals Service also said Casey White had previously made threats against his ex-girlfriend and her sister, “warning that if he ever got out, he would kill them and that he wanted police to kill him,” ABC reported.
Several days ago, a warrant was issued for Vicki White, charing her with permitting or facilitating escape. Family members and colleagues told The Associated Press they are bewildered by the involvement of Vicky White, who had worked for the sheriff’s office for 16 years, with the inmate who was already serving a 75-year prison sentence for attempted murder and other crimes.
Speaking to ABC, Singleton said officials are still not sure where the two may be located as of Wednesday. On Tuesday, he told reporters that it’s unlikely the pair are still in Alabama.
“We were making some good progress on that. We may be hindered now that some of that information has gotten out,” he said. “But, you know, we’re still working around the clock to locate them and try to get them back in custody.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.