US Marshals offer $15,000 reward for information about missing Alabama prison guard and inmate

The US Marshals Service said Sunday that it is offering up to $15,400 for information about an escaped inmate and a “missing and endangered” correctional officer who disappeared on Friday after the two left a jail in north Alabama.

Casey Cole White, 38, had been jailed on a capital murder charge in the Lauderdale County Detention Centre in Florence, Alabama, about 121km west of Huntsville.

The inmate and assistant director of corrections Vicky White, 56, left the Lauderdale County Detention Centre on Friday morning to go to a nearby courthouse, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post on Saturday. Investigators said the two are not related.

“Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the corrections officer and the public,” the US marshal for northern Alabama, Marty Keely, said in a statement.

While in state prison for other crimes in 2020, Casey confessed to the 2015 stabbing death of Connie Ridgeway, WHNT-TV reported.

Vicky White has been with the department for 16 years. At a news conference Friday, Singleton said she was armed when she left the jail with the inmate and headed to the courthouse for what she said was a mental health evaluation for Casey White. She was alone with the inmate, which the sheriff said violated department policy.

“Our policy is for any inmate with those kinds of charges to have two sworn deputies escort them. And that did not happen,” Singleton said.

Singleton also said there was no mental health evaluation for the inmate scheduled at the courthouse.

The vehicle the officer and the inmate were in when they left the detention centre was found at a nearby shopping center parking lot, according to the sheriff’s office.

Vicky White also told co-workers she had a doctor’s appointment scheduled, which was confirmed but the office said the deputy never showed, the sheriff said. Officials said no one realised the two were missing until about six hours after they left the jail. Deputies tried to contact Vicky White but her phone repeatedly went to voicemail.

Singleton said his department was “aggressively investigating” the incident and would be looking into previous interactions between the two to “see if something else was going on”.

Singleton told news outlets that Vicky White had turned in her retirement papers the day before she went missing.

The sheriff told AL.com on Sunday that there were no new developments in the investigation. The Associated Press called the sheriff’s office, but a phone message there said the office was closed Sunday.

– AP

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