WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that an escaped murder suspect and jail officer who aided him are “regarded as extremely dangerous” and the U.S. Marshals Service has taken over leading the search for the two fugitives.
Law enforcement officials in Alabama have been looking for Casey White, who was awaiting trial on a capital murder case, and Vicky White, a jail official, since they vanished after leaving the Lauderdale County Detention Center last week. The two are not related, but had a “special relationship,” authorities said.
Garland said they should be considered armed and dangerous and that anyone who spots them should not approach them.
“They worked together in designing this plan to escape,” said U.S. Marshal Marty Keely, whose deputies are leading the hunt.
Last Friday, Vicky White, 56, told her coworkers that the 38-year-old inmate needed to go to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. She was escorting the inmate alone — a violation of the sheriff's office policy. When she did not answer her phone or return in the afternoon, authorities realized the pair had gone missing. Authorities eventually learned that the evaluation was never scheduled and was just a charade to allow Vicky White to sneak Casey White out of the jail without suspicion.
The two left in a patrol car, which was found abandoned nearby in a parking lot where investigators believe Vicky White had parked a getaway car.
In the past week, authorities have learned that Vicky White purchased an array of weapons, including an AR-15 rifle in January and a shotgun two weeks before the scape. They also believe she has a 9 mm handgun with her and have received reports she may also have a .45 caliber handgun, Keely said.
Federal investigators believe they had been planning the escape for at least several months, Keely said. Vicky White sold her house for $95,000 — nearly half of the market value — and had also sold her car just before the escape, he said. She had also filed paperwork to officially retire from her job.
Police believe Vicky White had staged a getaway car nearby — a 2007 orange Ford Edge — that had no license plates. She bought the car just a few days before the escape and paid for it with cash, Keely said.
“It was well planned,” Keely said of the escape. “She has a lot of knowledge about law enforcement procedures.”
The Marshals Service and the sheriff's office have interviewed a slew of associates, family members and others who knew both Casey White and Vicky White and have received numerous tips in the investigation. But despite their best efforts, investigators have not come up with any solid leads to locate them.
“We've vetted out all the leads and so far, we have no legitimate spotting,” Keely said.
The Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 reward for information leading to Casey White’s capture and a $5,000 reward for information leading to Vicky White.
Authorities have said Casey White, who stands 6 feet, 9 inches (about 2 meters), should be recognizable by his size.
Casey White was being held at the jail on capital murder charges in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway. He confessed to the slaying in 2020 while in state prison for other crimes. He's been linked to home invasions, carjackings and was also involved in a police chase, Keely said.
Family members and colleagues said 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.
Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press