Alabama authorities are looking for a district attorney and a murder suspect last seen Friday as they exited the jail on what should have been a three-minute drive to the courthouse for a meeting that turned out to be non-existent, officials said.
The officer, Vicki White, who is the assistant director of corrections, left the Lauderdale County Jail at 9:41 am to take the inmate, Casey White, for a mental health evaluation at the Florence, Ala., courthouse. just off Muscle shoals.
However, no such appointment existed, sheriff Rick Singleton said at a news conference Friday.
“She was alone, which was a strict policy violation,” he said. Mr White, who was charged with two counts of first degree murder in 2020, should have had two deputies with him at all times, the sheriff said. That includes transportation to the courthouse, which was three minutes away.
Officer White’s patrol car, which was used to kill Mr. White was seen at a local shopping center around 11 a.m. Friday, although it was unclear who saw the vehicle and where exactly.
At 3:30 p.m., the booking officer on duty reported that he had been unable to reach Officer White. All calls went to her voicemail. About this time, officials confirmed that Mr. White, who had previously attempted to escape, was not in jail, Sheriff Singleton said.
Authorities said it was not clear whether Officer White had helped Mr. White escape or had been kidnapped. Officials said the officer and the prisoner were not related, but they were investigating whether there was ever a relationship between them.
“Knowing the prisoner, I think she’s in danger no matter the circumstances,” Sheriff Singleton said. “He was in prison for murder and he had nothing to lose.”
Officer White, who had been an exemplary member of the department for 25 years, told the booking officer Friday morning that she would take Mr. White to his appointment and then “seek medical attention” for herself because she was feeling ill, Sheriff Singleton said.
But Officer White also did not attend a medical appointment, the department confirmed.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issued a “blue alert” for the missing officer Friday night. “Casey White is considered a serious threat to the prosecutor and the public,” the warning reads.
Sheriff Singleton said Officer White was armed with a 9-millimeter handgun before disappearing, leading investigators to believe Mr. White was now armed.
The sheriff described Mr White as “extremely dangerous” and urged residents to call 911 if they saw him.
“Right now, we are hoping and praying we can catch him before anyone gets hurt,” the sheriff said.