New details have been released in relation to the Alabama corrections officer charged with assisting in the escape of an inmate and confessed capital murder suspect.
Investigators now believe the relationship between former Lauderdale County corrections officer Vicky White, 57, and inmate Casey White, 38, began in early 2020, Sheriff Rick Singleton said via CNN.
"As far as we know, that was the earliest physical contact they had," Singleton said.
The department also shared several photos which include what Vicky White would look like with dyed black hair and Casey White's identifiable tattoos.
Authorities also confirmed that the manhunt for the two suspects has extended to a nationwide search.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Marshals Service was reported to be working to protect the ex-girlfriend of Casey White, 38, who she said threatened to kill her and her sister if he ever got out of prison in 2015, adding that he also wanted police to kill him, CBS News reported.
The statement came after the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office confirmed Vicky White, who planned to retire, will lose her state-funded contributions to her pension after being charged with assisting in the escape of an inmate, according to Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton.
“Why, absolutely,” Singleton said Wednesday (March 4) via AL.com when asked if Vicky White had formally been terminated following the charge. “I mean, yeah. Of course, we haven’t had time to do the paperwork. But, yes, her employment is over with the Lauderdale County sheriff’s office.”
The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office also confirmed Vicky White was "no longer employed by the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office" in a statement to AL.com.
On Monday (May 2), a warrant was issued charging the corrections officer in relation to the incident.
Casey White and Vicky White -- who are not related despite sharing a last name -- were last seen leaving Lauderdale County Jail at around 9:40 a.m. last Friday (April 29), supposedly to appear at a courthouse, but never arrived, the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office confirmed to NBC News.
"We know she participated" in his escape, Singleton said on Monday (May 2) via NBC News. "Whether she did that willingly or was coerced or threatened, we're not really sure, but we know for sure she did participate."
AL.com shared security footage of Vicky and Casey White leaving the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office in a marked police vehicle, as well as separate surveillance video from a Florence, Alabama gas station in which the vehicle is seen at an intersection.
Vicky White had reportedly spoken about her upcoming retirement for months, as well as time she'd spend on the beach and had recently sold her house ahead of what was supposed to be her final day working as a Lauderdale County corrections officer last Friday.
"This is not the Vicky White we know by any stretch of the imagination," Singleton said. "Everybody thought she was going to retire."
"Nobody saw this coming," he added.
WAAY reports White sold her Lexington home for $95,550, below market value, in the days leading up to her disappearance.
Singleton said the department is investigating all possibilities regarding the relationship of Vicky and Casey White, including a romantic involvement, when initially announcing the warrant charging the officer in relation to the incident. Officials told NBC News that Vicky White was seen spending an inordinate amount of time near Casey White's cell in video surveillance.
Inmates at the detention center also claimed Vicky and Casey White had a "special relationship," which was confirmed through independent investigation, WAFF reports.
On Sunday (May 1), the U.S. Marshals Service offered $10,000 for information leading to the capture of capital Casey White and the location of Vicky White, who was believed to be a possible hostage victim at the time.
“Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the corrections officer and the public,” U.S. Marshal Marty Keely said at the time.
The U.S. Marshals Service is now offering an additional $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Vicky White.
Casey White was previously charged with two counts of capital murder in relation to the stabbing of Connie Ridgeway, 58, in September 2020 and had already been incarcerated for several other crimes committed in 2015, which include home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, U.S. Marshals confirmed to NBC News.
He had confessed to the murder of Ridgeway and was awaiting trial at the Lauderdale County Jail prior to his escape on Friday, the agency confirmed.
Casey White is described as 6'9 and approximately 260 lbs with brown hair and hazel eyes, according to U.S. Marshals.
Vicky and Casey White were reported to have left the detention center for a mental health evaluation at the court, however, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton confirmed no such evaluation was scheduled at the time.
Vicky White, an employee of 25 years, also told a booking officer that she was going to a medical appointment after dropping off Casey White because she wasn't feeling well, however, Singleton confirmed no appointment had been scheduled at the time.
Vicky White also transported the suspect alone, which is a strict violation of policy as two sworn deputies are needed to transport a suspect with the charges that Casey White is facing, according to the sheriff.
The marked 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car that the two were reported to be traveling in was later found at a shopping center, the sheriff confirmed to NBC News.
Officers realized the two were missing at around 3:30 p.m. last Friday after repeated calls to Vicki White's phone went straight to voicemail and it was confirmed that she'd never returned to the detention center either.
Vicky White is reported to have had a 9mm firearm, but it's unknown whether any other weapons were present in the patrol vehicle at the time of the disappearance.
The sheriff said investigators were looking for any surveillance footage at the shopping center where the vehicle was located.