“The car has been cleaned,” the sheriff told DailyExpertNews on Saturday. “There was nothing left in the vehicle. Apparently they took everything they had.”
The pair never made it to the courthouse or medical facility, sparking a manhunt involving local and federal authorities.
The two are not related but may have had a romantic relationship, Singleton said.
“It’s been a tough week, a challenging week, a discouraging week,” Singleton told DailyExpertNews on Saturday. “Ultimately, as a sheriff, I am responsible for the prison, and this rests on my shoulders.
“I want to see us get Casey White back behind bars, and I want Vicky White to be brought in so we can understand exactly what she was thinking,” Singleton added.
Although locating the SUV gave authorities an idea of the direction the pair were headed, investigators are still trying to piece together their movements, days after they left the jail in a patrol car.
‘Back to square one’
Surveillance video from the detention center shows the couple getting into a patrol car on the morning of their disappearance, with Casey White handcuffed and handcuffed, officials said.
The patrol car was later left in the parking lot of a shopping center near the prison with Vicky White’s prison keys, radio and handcuffs in it. The pair then drove off in an orange Ford SUV Vicky White had bought the night before and left in the same parking lot, Singleton said.
On Friday, authorities said they had found the SUV, which had been in a tow in Tennessee for about a week. The SUV was taken there after it was found abandoned in the woods last Friday and without any identifying information.
Authorities believe the SUV may have suffered mechanical problems, which caused the sudden stop in that area.
The discovery means the pair drove about two hours north to Williamson County, Tennessee, after disappearing from prison in Florence, Alabama, Singleton explained during Friday’s news conference.
“We now know where the car is, we know in which direction they went,” the sheriff said. “We are trying to scour the area for any witnesses and are also trying to investigate whether stolen vehicles have been reported in that area during that time.”
Investigators don’t yet know if the couple stole another vehicle or went for a ride with someone else, the sheriff said.
“We’re back to square one,” he said. “After Friday afternoon, when they left that car, which direction they went from there, we don’t know.”
A former officer’s experience can hinder the search
Vicky White’s law enforcement experience helped the couple escape arrest, officials believe.
“Her knowledge of corrections and her knowledge of the procedures we use here at the sheriff’s office have certainly played to her advantage. I think this was a very well thought out plan,” Singleton said during the press conference on Friday.
Vicky White had filed her retirement papers before she disappeared, and the day of the escape would be her last day on the job.
She now has an active arrest warrant for allegedly allowing or facilitating first-degree escape. She is no longer employed by the sheriff’s office, the office said.
Investigators believe she had a large amount of money when she and the inmate disappeared and she used aliases, including to purchase the vehicle, Singleton said. “I’m assuming she probably ditched those aliases and probably got a new identity now,” he explained.
Furthermore, the pair should be considered armed and dangerous and may have an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun, the US Marshals Service warned.
The US Marshals Service has offered up to $10,000 for information leading to the detainee’s arrest and up to $5,000 for the former officer. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also said an additional $5,000 each for information leading to the couple’s arrest.
Ryan Young, Jaide Timm-Garcia, Paradise Afshar, Nadia Romero and Christina Maxouris of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.