US authorities on Monday continued the hunt for an “extremely dangerous” murder suspect and issued an arrest warrant for the Alabama prison officer they now believe helped him to escape.
Inmate Casey Cole White was shackled and handcuffed when he and Vicky White, the facility's assistant director of corrections, left the Lauderdale County Detention Centre in Florence, Alabama, on Friday morning.
They have not been seen since, although the patrol vehicle that the pair used when leaving the detention centre was found at a nearby shopping centre car park after their absence was discovered.
Police have no idea where they are, although the inmate should be recognisable by his size. He stands 2.06 metres tall and weighs about 118 kilograms. Authorities gave a warning that anyone seeing the pair should not approach them.
“We consider both of them dangerous and, in all probability, both individuals are armed," US Marshal Marty Keely said on Monday. He said Casey White “will stand out” because of his size, even if he had changed his appearance.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said on Monday that they had issued an arrest warrant for Ms White on charges of permitting or allowing an escape. She is not related to Casey White, who was serving a 75-year prison sentence and awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.
Ms White told co-workers she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. But Mr Singleton later said no such evaluation was scheduled.
She also breached a policy that required more than one official to be involved in moving inmates, a rule that officials emphasised for White because he had previously tried to escape, Mr Singleton said. The sheriff said video footage showed the pair left the jail and went straight to the car park.
“We know she participated. Whether she did that willingly or if she was coerced, threatened somehow to participate, we are not really sure. We know for sure she did participate,” Mr Singleton said.
“Casey White, as you’ve heard me say over and over and over, is an extremely dangerous person and we need to get him located and get him off the street."
Casey White was serving time for a string of crimes that included attempted murder, robbery and burglary. While in prison, he confessed to the 2015 killing of a 58-year-old woman, authorities said, which caused him to be brought to the Lauderdale County Jail for court proceedings.
The sheriff said they believe Casey White plotted an earlier escape from the jail in 2020 when they found a makeshift knife. He could face the death penalty if convicted of the capital murder charge. The US Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information.
Ms White had planned to retire and Friday was to be her last day. He said she had sold her home about a month ago and “talked about going to the beach".
“This is not the Vicky White we know, by any stretch of the imagination,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff said they had no leads on where the two were.
“If we knew where they were at, we would be there and not here,” Mr Singleton said.