Car found in search for missing Alabama officer accused of helping inmate escape
A copper-colored car matching one that an Alabama corrections officer purchased before disappearing with an inmate was found Thursday in Tennessee, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday released pictures of the 2007 Ford Edge they said Vicky White bought before allegedly helping capital murder suspect Casey White escape from the Lauderdale County Detention Center last month.
A spokesperson for the Williamson County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office said a car of that description was found abandoned there Thursday after the office got a tip. Williamson County is located just south of Nashville.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said during a Friday afternoon press conference that the vehicle was abandoned on the side of road in Williamson County on April 29, the day the two disappeared.
“That means about a two-hour drive from here, so, about three-hours-and-fifty minutes after they left Lawrence, Alabama, they abandoned that vehicle,” Singleton said.
“We’re assuming … they probably had mechanical problems with it, because it was abandoned pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the county road, where it would obviously draw attention and be found.”
Singleton added that investigators are canvassing the area where the car was found, looking for witnesses and also investigating if any vehicles were stolen in the area.
The vehicle was spray painted “in a botched up job,” Singleton said.
He said the Ford Edge was towed before investigators even realized the two had disappeared together, adding, “There is no fault or blame on anyone.”
Singleton said on Friday authorities are almost at square one again. He noted the two had a head start on authorities. Reports that Vicky White withdrew $90,000 from multiple banks before she disappeared were accurate, and investigators assume the two could be armed with guns that she owned, Singleton said.
Vicky White has used aliases in the past, Singleton said. He added that investigators are concerned about her safety, because Casey White “could lose it and decide she’s a hinderance to him.”
When asked what his message is for her, Singleton said: “You know we are going to find you. Hopefully, we find you safe. If you’re still safe, get out while you can and turn yourself in.”
The car was locked and authorities are seeking a warrant to search it, the Williamson County spokesperson said.
The U.S. Marshals Service, which is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of Casey White, said Thursday that he previously vowed to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister if he ever got out of prison.
The threat was made before he received a 75-year sentence for a 2015 crime spree that involved a home invasion, carjacking and police chase, according to the agency.
“He 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. USMS and local law enforcement authorities have been in contact with his potential targets to advise them of the threats and the escape and have taken appropriate protective actions,” U.S. marshals said in a news release.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued two proclamations Friday offering a $5,000 reward each for information leading to the apprehension and arrest of Casey White and Vicky White.
Officials in Limestone County, Alabama, are now re-examining an investigation into the death of a woman Casey White dated, NBC affiliate WAFF of Huntsville reported.
Michelle Williamson with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office told NBC News that it is reviewing the 2008 death of Christy Shelton at the request of her family. Casey White was with Shelton when she was shot in the chest with a shotgun, WAFF reported. Her death was ruled a suicide.
Casey White, charged with capital murder in 2020 in the stabbing of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway, has been on the run since he escaped from the Lauderdale County Detention Center on April 29 with the help of Vicky White, the former assistant director of corrections, officials said.
Casey White, 38, had confessed to the 2020 murder and was awaiting trial when he disappeared with Vicky White.
U.S. marshals are offering up to $5,000 for the former officer’s capture. Vicky White, 56, is wanted on a charge of permitting or facilitating the escape of an inmate.
She and Casey White are not related.
U.S. marshals released new photos of the pair, some showing what Vicky White would look like with shorter and darker hair and others showing Casey White’s tattoos.
“He has numerous tattoos … including some affiliated with the Alabama-based white supremacist prison gang Southern Brotherhood,” U.S. marshals said of Casey White, who is 6 feet, 9 inches tall.
Singleton said on NBC’s “TODAY” Thursday that Vicky and Casey White have had some kind of relationship for at least two years. The two communicated on the phone.
The pair should be considered dangerous and could possibly be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun, according to officials.
Vicky White was due to retire on the day the pair vanished, officials have said. She had recently sold her home.
Singleton confirmed that Vicky White is no longer with the sheriff’s office. He did not say if she had been fired.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.