Lauderdale County Mayor Rick Singleton said missing assistant director of corrections Vicki White violated protocol when she escorted inmate Casey White from prison this morning, apparently to take him to court in Lauderdale County. The inmate and the corrections officer are not related.
Authorities said Casey White is being held on charges of premeditated murder and that two sworn representatives should have been with him at all times, including during transportation to court.
The Sheriff added that Vicki White coordinates all transfers from the detention center to the court, and thus knows the protocol.
Singleton said that although Casey White was supposed to be taken for a mental health assessment in the courtroom, they have since learned that no such assessment or further court hearing was scheduled for Friday.
“With the inmate’s knowledge, I think she is in danger no matter what,” Singleton said. “He was in prison for murder and had nothing to lose.”
Authorities are now looking into all possibilities for what happened, including whether a corrections officer helped Casey White escape.
“Whether she helped him or not, we don’t know, and we won’t deal with that until we have definitive proof that this happened. We’re assuming at this point that she was taken against her will, unless we absolutely can prove otherwise,” Singleton added.
Authorities said they are still looking into and investigating any interactions between the corrections officer and Casey White, as well as any phone calls he has received.
When Vicki White escorted Casey White from prison, she told the guard she would drop him off in court and then go to seek medical attention because she was not feeling well.
The sheriff said Casey White was never taken to court nor did Vicki White get to the place where she said she would seek medical attention.
The authorities did not realize they were missing until several hours later.
Singleton said her car, a 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car, was first seen in a shopping center parking lot around 11 a.m. by someone who was on their lunch break.
Around 3:30 p.m., officers in the prison became concerned and tried to reach her, but her phone kept going straight to voicemail. Then they realized Casey White had not been sent back to prison.
Singleton added that Vicki White has been in the department for 25 years and is eligible for retirement — which she’s been talking about in the past few months.
“All precautions have been taken,” Singleton said. “The question we asked to Director White was why she was violating the policy.”
Singleton added that Casey White is 6’9 inches tall and is considered armed and dangerous. And Vicki White was “armed with a 9mm pistol, which means we’re assuming armed.”