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Alabama prison official missing after escorting inmate

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-30 18:45:18-04

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — A prison official from Alabama is missing after escorting an inmate to a courthouse for a hearing — which apparently was not actually scheduled.

Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White disappeared while escorting inmate Casey Cole White, according to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office. The inmate, who was being held on capital murder charges and is also missing.

Vicky White, 56, who has been with the department for 16 years, left the detention center with Casey White on Friday morning, and neither has been seen since. Although they share the same last name, the two are not related.

The vehicle they were traveling in when they left the detention center was discovered at a nearby shopping center parking lot, according to the sheriff's office.

Casey White, 38, was being held on capital murder charges in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway. He confessed to the slaying in 2020 while in state prison for other crimes, WHNT-TV reported.

At a news conference Friday, Sheriff Rick Singleton said Vicky White, armed with a 9mm, left the detention center with the inmate around 9:41 a.m. She said she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation.

She was alone with the inmate, which the sheriff said was in direct violation of department policy.

“Our policy is for any inmate with those kinds of charges to have two sworn deputies escort them. And that did not happen,” Singleton said.

Singleton also said there was no mental health evaluation for the inmate scheduled at the courthouse.

Vicky White also told co-workers she had a doctor’s appointment scheduled, which was confirmed but the office said the deputy never showed.

Officials said no one realized the two were missing until 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Deputies tried to contact Vicky White but her phone repeatedly went to voicemail.

Singleton said his department was “aggressively investigating” the incident and would be looking into previous interactions between the two to “see if something else was going on.”

Singleton said his department was “shocked” and that it was obviously a possibility that the corrections officer helped him escape. Singleton told news outlets that Vicky White had turned in her retirement papers the day before she went missing.

Regardless of her possible involvement, the sheriff acknowledged she could very well be in danger.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, FBI, and U.S. Marshals are assisting in the investigation.

"If anyone should spot them contact 911 immediately and DO NOT APPROACH!" the sheriff's office wrote in an alert posted on Facebook. "Investigators are currently attempting to locate any video that may tell us more about what we're dealing with."