FLORENCE, Ala. ( Associated Press) — An Alabama prison officer is missing after taking an inmate to a courtroom for trial.
The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post on Saturday that Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White disappeared while escorting an inmate charged with capital murder. The prisoner is also missing.
On Saturday morning, Sheriff Rick Singleton confirmed that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the FBI, and US Marshals are assisting with the investigation.
White, 56, who has been with the department for 16 years, left the detention center with inmate Casey White on Friday morning and has not been seen since. The pair is not related. According to the sheriff’s office, the vehicle they were traveling in when they left the detention center was found in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center.
White, 38, was being held on capital murder charges in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway. WHNT-TV reported that he confessed to murder in 2020 while in state prison for other crimes.
At a news conference Friday, Singleton said Vicky White, armed with a 9mm, left the detention center with the inmate at around 9:41 p.m. for what she said was a mental health evaluation for Casey. She was alone with the prisoner, which the sheriff called a direct violation of department policy.
“Our policy is for any prisoner on these types of charges to have two sworn-in escorts. And that didn’t happen,” Singleton said.
Singleton also said that there was no mental health evaluation for the prisoner prescribed in court.
White also told coworkers that he had a doctor’s appointment scheduled, which was confirmed but the office said the deputy never showed up.
Officials said that till 3.30 pm on Friday, no one realized that the two were missing. The deputy tried to contact Vicky White but her phone repeatedly went to voicemail.
Singleton said his department was “aggressively investigating” the incident and was looking at previous conversations between the two “to see if anything else was going on.”
Singleton said his department was “shocked” and that there was apparently a possibility that the corrections officer helped him escape. Singleton told news outlets that Vicky White had turned in his retirement papers the day before he went missing.
Despite her involvement, the sheriff acknowledged that she could very well be in danger.