Lauderdale County corrections officer, capital murder suspect missing
A corrections officer for the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office and a capital murder suspect are missing, according to Sheriff Rick Singleton.
Assistant Director of Corrections Vicki White and inmate Casey Cole White, who are not related, left the detention center at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, bound for the courthouse, and they have not been seen since.
Singleton said Vicki White, a 25 year employee of the sheriff's office, told subordinates she was taking Casey White for a mental health evaluation, and afterward would be seeking medical attention herself.
He said investigators have since learned there was no scheduled mental health evaluation or any other court appearance, and that the officer never sought medical attention.
VIcki White was armed with a 9 mm handgun; the sheriff said Casey White should be considered armed and dangerous. Whatever the initial circumstances of the disappearance, Singleton said, he believes Vicki White is in danger now.
Singleton said anyone who spots them should contact 911 immediately, and should not approach them.
The sheriff described Casey White as 6 feet 9 inches tall; a "Blue Alert" issued by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says he is 6 feet 6 inches tall, 252 pounds. He was a Department of Corrections inmate, but had been brought to Lauderdale County to face capital murder charges.
Whether this is a case of an assisted escape, or if she was perhaps overpowered and kidnapped, the sheriff said, is not known. He said investigators will be trying to determine whether there a relationship between the two that others in the jail were not aware of.
Singleton said normal procedure in transporting a capital murder suspect would call for two armed officers; he said Vicki White arranged transports for inmates as one of her duties at the jail. She was a supervisor, he explained, so when she told her subordinates she was transporting the inmate, they didn't question her.
Authorities found the vehicle in which they left the detention center in the parking lot of a Lauderdale County shopping center.
"Investigators are currently attempting to locate any video that may tell us more about what we're dealing with," Singleton said in a press release. "The fact that the two are missing was not realized until approximately 3:30 p.m. this date (Friday)."
The News Courier reported in April 2019 that Casey White had been sentenced to 75 years in prison after his conviction for two counts of first-degree kidnapping and attempted murder. He was accused of trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates. He also was convicted of first-degree robbery, first-degree and third-degree burglary, burglary of a vehicle, animal cruelty for shooting a dog,and attempting to elude.
He faced capital murder charges in the 2015 murder-for-hire slaying of Connie Ridgeway. She was found dead in her Meadowland Apartments home. Charges in the case were brought in September 2020, WAFF TV reported.
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.