On April 29, 2022, Officer Vicky White snuck out of Lauderdale County Jail with convict Casey White, kicking off an 11-day manhunt that would end in Casey’s re-arrest and Vicky’s death.
On April 29, 2022, the nation’s attention was captured by news of a manhunt for 38-year-old Casey White, a convict serving a 75-year-sentence for a slew of felonies who had escaped from an Alabama detention center.
But the most shocking detail — his partner-in-crime was a highly-respected career corrections officer.
Vicky White — no relation — had just turned in her retirement papers. April 29 was supposed to be her last day with the Lauderdale County jail in Alabama.
Instead, she helped Casey escape, and the pair went on the run together for 11 days. Casey was arrested, and Vicky shot herself.
“I never would have thought that in a million years,” Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly told CNN. He said Vicky White was “the most solid person at the jail.”
“I would have trusted her with my life.”
Vicky White: Model Employee or Mastermind?
Vicky White had worked for the Lauderdale County jail for nearly two decades. At the time of the escape, she was Lauderdale County’s assistant director of corrections — the second-in-command at the jail.
“She was a model employee,” said Rick Singleton, the sheriff in Lauderdale County.
“All of her co-workers, all the employees in the sheriff’s office, the judges, all [had] the… utmost respect for her,” he said. “Some of the older [prisoners] looked up to her as a mother figure.”
Vicky had just turned in her retirement papers and talked about moving to the beach. No one ever suspected she would help a dangerous prisoner escape — let alone plan the whole thing.
Vicky White “was basically the mastermind behind the whole plan,” according to Singleton.
“[Casey White] was behind bars. He really couldn’t plan too much behind bars. Personally, I think she was the one to put the plan together,” he said.
But why would a highly-respected and well-liked employee help someone like Casey White?
According to Singleton, the pair had a “special relationship.” Vicky was giving Casey special privileges, and they carried on a romantic relationship outside of her work hours.
“This is not terribly unusual, that you have this guard falling in love with a prisoner who’s probably groomed her over a period of time,” Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker said. Swecker believes Casey likely manipulated Vicky.
“He obviously needed her [to escape]. You would think someone with law enforcement experience – an assistant director of corrections in that county – would have thought a little bit farther down the line,” Swecker said. “She obviously lost all judgment over the last few months or so.”
Casey White, The Violent Felon Eager To Escape
Casey White was no stranger to the prison system. He had already spent three years in prison between 2012 and 2015 for beating his brother in the face and head with an axe handle.
Within months of his release in 2015, Casey went on a crime spree involving a home invasion, carjacking, and a police chase.
Casey was indicted on 15 felony charges and was eventually convicted on 7 of those, including attempted murder and robbery. He was sentenced to 75 years in prison.
Casey was serving out his sentence at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison. But in 2020, he confessed to the 2015 stabbing of Connie Ridgeway in Lauderdale County. He was charged with two counts of capital murder and was taken to the Lauderdale County jail for his arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
That’s where he met Vicky White.
After the arraignment, he was returned to the state prison, but he and Vicky kept in contact. According to WHNT, the pair exchanged 949 phone calls while Casey was at Donaldson.
Casey returned to the Lauderdale County jail on Feb. 25 while he awaited trial for the murder of Connie Ridgeway, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Vicky and Casey White’s Escape
In the weeks leading up to the escape, Vicky White sold her house for well under market value — she sold it for just over $95,000, and it was valued at $235,600. She also purchased a 2007 Ford Edge, one of several vehicles they used to flee.
On April 29, Vicky said she was taking Casey to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation, and then she would be going to the doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. Vicky was able to take Casey by herself, even though jail policy stated someone with a record like Casey’s needed to be escorted by at least two guards.
“She really exploited her good reputation at the jail,” Connolly said. “‘Cause you can have all the policies in the world, yes she broke them. She knew where to exploit ’em too, using what she knew about those policies and her trustworthiness.”
Vicky was seen on surveillance cameras leading Casey in handcuffs and shackles out of the prison and into her patrol car, which was later found abandoned in a shopping center parking lot less than a mile from the prison.
Prison officials found out later there was no evaluation scheduled for Casey that day. And Vicky never arrived at the doctor.
The escape set off an 11-day manhunt for the pair. An arrest warrant was issued for Vicky White on May 2, and the governor announced a $5,000 reward for each of the pair.
“Both Casey White and Vicky White pose a major threat to the public, and they must be apprehended. I am pleased to offer this support as law enforcement works diligently to get these dangerous criminals behind bars,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
On May 9, the pair was spotted abandoning a car at a car wash in Evansville, Illinois. A chase ensued, involving U.S. Marshals, FBI agents, and Vanderburgh County deputies. Law enforcement officials collided with Casey and Vicky White’s car, causing it to overturn.
After the crash, Vicky White shot herself, according to Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding. Casey White was apprehended and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Vicky’s friends and coworkers couldn’t believe what she had done. At first, they thought she may have been coerced or forced to help Casey escape, but it became clear she had chosen to do it.
“Vicky White was a member of our family. That’s why it was so hard in the first few days to grasp that she could actually do something like this because it was so out of character for her,” Singleton said.
“In spite of what she’s done, Vicky was a friend to every one of us. It has been an emotional roller coaster for our employees.”
The Aftermath Of The Escape
Casey White was charged with first-degree escape and felony murder for the death of Vicky White.
Casey pleaded guilty to the escape charges in exchange for dropping the felony murder charge. He was sentenced to life in prison in June 2023.
“I feel like the most hated man in the world. I loved Vicky and I wouldn’t drag her name through the mud for anyone in this courtroom,” Casey White told the court, according to WHNT. “Vicky took me out because she said, ‘Right was right. Wrong is wrong.’ First person to show me affection. First person to give me a hug in six years.”
The capital murder case against Casey for the murder of Connie Ridgeway was also dropped. Connolly said there was no need to pursue the capital murder case since he was already spending the rest of his life in prison, and it would be a waste of state resources, according to WAAY.
Connolly also said the investigation into Ridgeway’s murder is still ongoing, and Ridgeway’s family supported not moving forward with the trial.
The families of Connie Ridgeway and Vicky White were in attendance for Casey White’s sentencing. While they may not have justice for their deaths, they at least have closure.
“I trust that Casey White’s behind bars and that’s the main thing,” said Austin Williams, Ridgeway’s son.
“We may not get justice in this life, but we’ll get it in the next life. While we’re here, we’re gonna keep fighting for it.”
After reading about the shocking escape of Casey and Vicky White, read about 11 of the most unbelievable prison escapes in history. Or, read about the prison warden’s wife who helped an inmate escape, and then lived with him for 10 years.