Hunt ongoing for missing Alabama capital murder suspect, CO who violated policy

Authorities are investigating all possibilities in the pair’s disappearance, including whether the officer assisted the inmate in escaping


By William Thornton
al.com
        
FLORENCE, Ala. — The Lauderdale County corrections officer who is missing along with a capital murder suspect violated sheriff’s office policy by escorting him alone, Sheriff Rick Singleton said Friday night.

The officer, Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White, also told her colleagues that she was taking inmate Casey Cole White — no relation — to the Lauderdale County Courthouse for a mental evaluation even though no such evaluation or any other court appearance was scheduled for the inmate, Singleton said.

Vicki White also told her colleagues that she was going to seek medical attention after dropping White off at court because she wasn’t feeling well, but Singleton said his office confirmed no medical appointment was made.

“We’re still aggressively investigating, trying to find out what happened and find the location of Deputy White and Inmate White,” the sheriff told reporters at a news conference.

Although Lauderdale County officials spelled her first name Vicki, an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency alert and a 2016 AL.com article spelled it Vicky. It was not immediately clear which is the accurate spelling.

The corrections officer and capital murder suspect left the jail at 9:41 a.m. Friday.

Shortly after 11 a.m., a citizen spotted White’s patrol vehicle in the parking lot of a Florence shopping center.

Around 3:30 p.m. a booking officer at the jail reported to another assistant director of corrections that they were trying to contact Vicki White but they couldn’t get in touch with her, the sheriff said.

The sheriff’s office also confirmed that Casey Cole White was not back at the jail and an investigation and search for the pair ensued.

Singleton said Vicki White was escorting Casey Cole White alone, “which is a strict violation of policy.” Two sworn deputies are supposed to escort an inmate.

The sheriff said Vicki White has been “an exemplary employee,” and was promoted from sergeant to assistant director.

Authorities are investigating all possibilities in the pair’s disappearance, including whether Vicki White assisted the inmate in escaping or if she was kidnapped.

“I think she’s in danger, whatever the circumstances,” Singleton said. “He was in jail for capital murder...”

The state has issued a Blue Alert, and the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency are assisting the sheriff’s office in their search.

Investigators are now looking for any video evidence that might lead to more information, including the description of a vehicle that may have been used after White’s patrol vehicle was left abandoned.

Casey White is a capital murder suspect with multiple prior convictions. White, 38, was charged in 2020 with two counts of capital murder in the brutal Oct. 23, 2015 murder-for-hire slaying of Connie Jane Ridgeway.

Ridgeway, 59, was found dead in her home at the Meadowland Apartments on Prince Drive in Rogersville, located across the street from Lauderdale County High School’s football field. Rogersville police were called to Ridgeway’s apartment around 6 p.m. that Friday by a neighbor requesting a welfare check. She was found slain in her living room.

In December 2015, White was arrested after authorities said he staged, in one night, a home invasion, two carjackings and multiple shootings in North Alabama and South Tennessee that left a dog dead and a woman injured. In 2019 he was found guilty of a total of nine charges, including trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates. Other charges included first degree robbery, first degree burglary, third degree burglary, breaking and entering a vehicle, animal cruelty for shooting a dog and attempting to elude.

Anyone who sees Casey White is advised to contact 911 immediately and not to approach. He is described as standing 6 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 252 pounds.

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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