Law enforcement authorities are sharing more details about the 11-day manhunt that ended Monday with a capital murder suspect in custody and a former Alabama corrections officer dead.
Officials say Vicky White, 56, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a police chase in Evansville, Ind., where the U.S. Marshals Service had tracked the car she and fugitive Casey White, 38, were traveling in.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said officers had been conducting surveillance on a hotel where the pair had booked a 14-day stay when they spotted the two leaving and a chase ensued.
During the pursuit, a U.S. Marshals vehicle “rammed” into theirs, pushing it into a ditch, Wedding said. Casey White sustained minor injuries in the crash. Four handguns and an AR-15 were found in the vehicle, the sheriff said, as well as $29,000 in cash.
Wedding said that Casey White is cooperating with investigators and told them he was prepared to “engage in a shoot-out.”
According to Commander Deputy U.S. Marshal Chad Hunt, Casey White referred to Vicky White as his wife when he was apprehended.
“When we were taking Casey White into custody, upon his surrender he said, ‘Help my wife, she just shot herself,’” Hunt said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Vicky White was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was declared dead. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Authorities believe that Casey White and Vicky White, who are not related, had developed a romantic relationship that began about two years ago while he was serving a 75-year prison sentence for a 2015 home invasion and carjacking.
He was charged in 2020 with two counts of capital murder after confessing to the 2015 stabbing death of 58-year-old Connie Ridgeway. He later pleaded not guilty.
The pair was last seen on April 29, when Vicky White said she was transporting Casey White from Lauderdale County Jail in Florence, Ala., to a courthouse for a planned mental health evaluation. According to investigators, the evaluation was never scheduled.
Surveillance video shows Vicky White was alone when she left the jail with Casey White, a violation of a department policy that requires at least two sworn deputies to take part in transporting a person under those charges.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said he now believes that Vicky White, a 17-year veteran of the corrections office, was the architect of the jailbreak.
“She was basically the mastermind behind the whole plan,” Singleton said on CNN.
The day before their escape, Vicky White submitted her retirement papers. She had recently sold her home in Lexington, Ala., for $95,550 — below its market value, according to ABC’s Huntsville, Ala., affiliate.
They left Alabama in a Ford Edge that was found abandoned in Tennessee. Authorities believe the pair purchased another vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup truck, in Tennessee.
The Marshals Service received a tip on Sunday that a man resembling the 6-foot-9, 330-pound Casey White was spotted at an Evansville, Ind., car wash on May 3 exiting a pickup truck matching that description.
Authorities found the truck abandoned at the car wash but were able to obtain information that the couple had obtained yet another vehicle, a Cadillac, and that they were staying at a nearby hotel.
U.S. Marshals surveilling the hotel observed Vicky White exit the hotel wearing a wig. She and Casey White then got into the Cadillac and drove away, and the final pursuit began.
Casey White waived his right to an extradition hearing on Tuesday and will be transferred back to the Lauderdale County Jail in Alabama, where Singleton said he will be held alone in a cell.
“He will stay in handcuffs and shackles while he’s in that cell,” Singleton said. “And if he wants to sue me for violating his civil rights, so be it. He’s not getting out of this jail again. I’ll assure you that.”