Car linked to escaped Alabama inmate, corrections officer found in Williamson County
The car Alabama corrections officer Vicky White bought and used to facilitate the escape of Casey White, an inmate with a violent history, was found in Williamson County.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton confirmed Friday that the 2007 Ford Edge used by the pair was discovered in Williamson County hours before anyone in Alabama knew the two were missing.
The Williamson County Sheriff's Office tweeted that the vehicle had been found in Bethesda April 29. It was reported abandoned and only identified as the getaway car Thursday evening, two days after a description of the vehicle was accidently released to the public.
There is no indication the two are still in the area, according to the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.
Vicky White and Casey White disappeared a week ago when she claimed to be taking the inmate for a mental health evaluation at the courthouse. She told coworkers that she’d also be out for a doctor’s appointment.
The pair never returned, and it took about six hours before any other employees raised an alarm. In the days after their disappearance, details began to emerge indicating Vicky White was not the victim of a kidnapping but instead the mastermind of the escape, according to officials.
White auctioned off her house for below market value and moved in with her mother over a month ago. She withdrew about $90,000 from several banks in the area prior to her departure, Singleton said.
She’d been talking with her superiors about retiring since the beginning of the year, Singleton said, but didn’t turn in her papers until the day before she disappeared.
Singleton said Wednesday that her retirement paperwork had not yet been filed with the state, and that she’d been terminated from the Sheriff’s Office.
Inmates at the Lauderdale County Jail told investigators that White was giving Casey White extra attention and special privileges, Singleton said. To his knowledge, there was no physical relationship before they fled.
White used an alias and bought the 2007 Ford Edge about a week before the escape. She stashed the car at a nearby shopping mall the night before, Singleton said, and stayed at the Quality Inn.
"My personal gut feeling was that she didn't want to see her mother that morning knowing what she was about to do," Singleton told WAFF 48 News Friday morning.
Casey White was being housed at the county jail for meetings with his attorney related to a capital murder charge. He'd previously been serving time in prison for attempted murder and kidnapping. He stands accused of capital murder in connection with the death of 59-year-old Connie Jane Ridgeway.
During a news conference Friday, Singleton said the car likely had mechanical problems, forcing the pair to abandon it prematurely and throwing a wrench into an otherwise "very calculated plan."
Despite the SUV being found about 10 miles east of Interstate 65, the sheriff said he suspected them traveling on country roads.
It's unknown what direction the two went after abandoning the car.
No evidence was found in the car, meaning the firearms the two are suspected of traveling with— several handguns, a rifle and shotgun— are likely still with them, Singleton said.
Law enforcement authorities from Alabama and Tennessee descended on the area of Banner Adams and Smithson roads in Bethesda Friday to comb for any additional evidence.
"We're canvasing and researching for any reports of stolen vehicles in the area," Singleton said. "I think this threw them a curve ball, something they didn't plan for and they were grasping at straws. But that's been a week ago now, so they've probably settled back down in some sort of routine."
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said Gov. Kay Ivey approved the maximum reward allowed under state law for information that leads to the arrest of the inmate and corrections officer.
U.S. Marshal's previously issued a $10,000 reward for Casey White and a $5,000 reward for Vicky White. The total award amount now stands at a combined $25,000.
"You know we're going to find you," Singleton said, addressing Vicky White. "Hopefully you're safe. Get out while you can and turn yourself in."
Contact Tennessean reporter Kirsten Fiscus at 615-259-8229 or KFiscus@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @KDFiscus.