Thursday, March 23

How did the Alabama inmate and officer evade authorities for so long? Money, expert says.

An Alabama corrections officer and escaped inmate were taken into custody Tuesday after evading police for more than a week. But how did they elude authorities for so long?

Former corrections officer Vicky White, 56, and inmate Casey White, 38, vanished on April 29, and authorities have since said the couple had a “jailhouse romance” and were planning their escape. They were arrested Monday after a police chase and subsequent car wreck in Evansville, Indiana, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said.

The pair was likely able to go undetected for so long because of Vicky White’s more than $90,000 in cash from selling her home a month ago, said Lenny DePaul, the former chief inspector and commander of the US Marshals’ New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

DePaul is not associated with the ongoing investigation.

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Vicky White, whom authorities have since called an accomplice, allegedly told coworkers she was taking Casey White to a courthouse appointment before the couple vanished. Surveillance footage shows Vicky White escorting Casey White out of the Lauderdale County Detention Center and into a patrol car, which was found abandoned in a shopping center later in the day.

Vicky White allegedly sold her home and was set to retire the day the couple fled, the US Marshals Service said in a statement. A warrant has since been issued for her arrest of her.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said Friday the discovery of a 2007 orange Ford Edge getaway vehicle about 100 miles from the jail puts investigators “back at square one” as the couple had “a very calculated plan.”

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Singleton said the vehicle had been towed the day the Whites fled from the jail but it wasn’t until Thursday that authorities in Tennessee realized it was the same car tied to the search.

White purchased the vehicle using an alias, Singleton said. Video also showed her at a Quality Inn within walking distance from where she bought the car on the night before the escape. The vehicle may have had mechanical issues that “threw them a curve” they didn’t plan for, Singleton said, but the Whites likely recovered. Vicki White was likely using new fake identities, too, I have added.

PREVIOUSLY: Vicky White, escaped inmate Casey White had ‘special relationship’

The US Marshals Service said Sunday that investigators located another abandoned vehicle in Evansville, Indiana, that was believed to have been used by the Whites.

In a news release, officials said they received a tip Sunday night that a 2006 Ford F-150 had been discovered a car.

Security camera footage provided by the car wash’s owner shows a man standing next to the truck who bears resemblance to Casey White.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said the vehicle was abandoned May 3, and said it was unlikely either fugitive was still in the Evansville area, hours before they were captured.

A man stands next to a truck US Marshals said was driven by escaped Alabama inmate Casey White at Weinbach Car Wash in Evansville, Indiana. The truck was found abandoned there Sunday, May 8. White escaped from an Alabama prison with former correctional officer Vicky White last week.

DePaul, who has spent more than 30 years working on fugitive investigations, said it’s likely investigators focused on Vicky White and “tearing her world upside down” to try to anticipate the couple’s next steps.

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“You become them,” he said about investigators. “What would your next move be?”

Authorities likely looked at her digital footprint to get a sense of who she has been in contact with, where she has visited and what her routines are, he added. Her internet history and her social media connections may also come in handy, DePaul said.

In 2021, the Marshals arrested more than 84,000 fugitives on federal, state and local warrants, according to the Justice Department. While most are not as high profile, the public attention in the Whites’ case was a good thing, DePaul said, given Casey White’s physical appearance.

At 6 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing approximately 330 pounds, “he’s not going to be hiding in plain sight,” DePaul said.

Vicky White is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and the Marshals Service released photos comparing the couple’s height next to each other. The Marshals Service also released photos of Vicky White showing what she would look like if her hair were darkened.

Casey White, who was serving a 75-year prison sentence on kidnapping and attempted murder charges, was also set to go to trial next month in a capital murder case, which police say he confessed to.

This video grab taken from a handout footage released by Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department shows Casey White, an inmate at the Lauderdale Co. Detention Facility escaping with the help of Vicky White, the assistant director of Alabama corrections on April 29, 2022.

This video grab taken from a handout footage released by Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department shows Casey White, an inmate at the Lauderdale Co. Detention Facility escaping with the help of Vicky White, the assistant director of Alabama corrections on April 29, 2022.

The Marshals Service said Casey White also threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister if he ever got out of prison and that he wanted police to kill him.

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Given Casey White’s history of violence, Vicky White may also be in danger, DePaul said. Singleton expressed a similar concern, calling Casey White “volatile” and saying he could turn on her at any time.

Singleton said the Whites had a relationship stemming back two years, including visits and phone calls beyond Vicky White’s work hours. Casey White also received special privileges other inmates didn’t have, he said.

Contributing: Christine Fernando, N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Cady Stanton, USA TODAY; Houston Harwood, Evansville Courier & Press; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Vicky White: Money likely helped inmate, officer evade police for days

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