Alabama authorities are searching for a corrections officer and a murder suspect who were last seen Friday leaving the jail for what should have been a three-minute drive to the county courthouse for an appointment that turned out not to exist, officials said.

The officer, Vicki White, who is the assistant director of corrections, left the Lauderdale County Jail at 9:41 a.m. to take the inmate, Casey White, for a mental health evaluation at the county courthouse in Florence, Alabama, just outside Muscle Shoals.

However, no such appointment existed, the sheriff, Rick Singleton, said in a news conference Friday.

“She was alone, which was a strict violation of policy,” he said. Casey White, who was charged with two counts of capital murder in 2020 for a murder-for-hire slaying, should have had two deputies with him at all times, the sheriff said. That includes during transportation to the courthouse, which was three minutes away.

Vicki White’s patrol car, which was used to transport Casey White, was seen at a local shopping mall around 11 a.m. Friday, although it was unclear who spotted the vehicle and specifically where.

At 3:30 p.m., the booking officer on duty reported that he had been unable to reach Vicki White. All calls were going to her voicemail. Around this time, officials confirmed that Casey White, who had tried to escape before, was not at the jail, Singleton said.


Authorities said it was not clear whether Vicki White had helped Casey White escape or whether she had been kidnapped. Officials said the officer and inmate were not related but that they were investigating whether there was ever a relationship between them.

“Knowing the inmate, I think she’s in danger, whatever the circumstance,” Singleton said. “He was in jail for capital murder, and he had nothing to lose.”

Vicki White, who had been an exemplary member of the department for 25 years, told the booking officer Friday morning that she would take Casey White to his appointment and then “seek medical assistance” for herself because she was feeling ill, Singleton said.

But Vicki White did not go to a medical appointment either, the department confirmed.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issued a “blue alert” on Friday night for the missing officer. “Casey White is believed to be a serious threat to the corrections officer and the public,” the alert said.

Singleton said Vicki White was armed with a 9 mm handgun before she disappeared, leading investigators to believe that Casey White was armed.

The sheriff described Casey White as “extremely dangerous” and urged residents to call 911 if they spotted him.

“Right now, our hope and prayer is we get him before somebody gets hurt,” the sheriff said.