BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – After escaped inmate Casey White was taken into state custody at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton shared more about the emotions officers are facing after the last two weeks.
Longtime corrections officer and accomplice Vicky White died Tuesday after investigators said she died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Her death has been ruled a suicide after an autopsy.
“When this first happened, obviously we thought that he had somehow overpowered her and taken her against her will,” said Singleton.
As days went on, Singleton learned Vicky White was involved in the escape. Despite her involvement, the ending has been difficult and brought on mixed feelings.
“Disappointing, discouraging, the full range of emotions from concern to fear to anger and now to grief in spite of everything she has done, she was a coworker,” Singleton said.
Casey White did not say anything about Vicky White when he was brought back to Lauderdale County Wednesday night from Indiana, where the duo’s car crashed after it was rammed by U.S. Marshals.
Singleton said he believes the veteran officer was conned and manipulated.
“I think he convinced her she was really something special to him but if you watch the video footage of when he was apprehended not a single expression of remorse, not a single expression of grief,” said Singleton.
Vicky White’s final moments were captured on an audio call with 911 dispatchers. She can be heard saying that airbags are going off and suggest they get out and run, telling Casey White to get them back to the hotel.
“She did not call 911, the car called 911 and just picked up the conversation. It was sort of difficult to listen to,” said Singleton.
Singleton said so far investigators have not discovered any communications that Vicky White left behind that might provide more insight into her mindset and actions. He said he called her mother to offer condolences.
“I really think she was struggling with the thought of having to come back here face her family, face her coworkers in light of what she had done, I think that weighed heavily on her,” said Singleton.
The sheriff said he did not speak to Casey White Tuesday, but that investigators planned to follow up with him now that he was in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections.
When asked if there would be any changes as a result of the escape, he said the incident would be used as a teaching tool
“We use this for lessons learned in our orientation and training with our correction deputies, but we have always spent an extra amount of time when we interview them, explaining to them the work environment, this is a very unique work environment,” said Singleton.
CBS 42 reached out to a representative with ADOC for details on how Casey White would be detained at Donaldson Correctional Facility in west Jefferson County.
An ADOC spokesperson said the department couldn’t release that information because it may pose a security risk.
Casey White is facing capital murder charges in the Lauderdale County death of Connie Ridgeway. He was also charged with first-degree escape Tuesday night and arraigned.
Singleton said he could face additional charges as the investigation continues.