A manhunt has been launched for a female prison guard suspected of helping an “extremely dangerous” 6ft 9ins-tall murder suspect escape in Alabama.
Prison officer Vicky White, 56, and inmate Casey White, 38, who are not related, vanished after she told colleagues she was going to drive him to court for a mental health evaluation.
Rick Singleton, the local sheriff, said an arrest warrant had been issued for Vicky White on charges of permitting or allowing an escape. He said: “We know she participated [in the escape].
Whether she did that willingly or if she was coerced, threatened somehow to participate in the case, not really sure. We know for sure she did participate.
“This is not the Vicky White we know, by any stretch of the imagination.” Casey White had been detained at the Lauderdale County detention centre in Florence, Alabama.
He was due to go on trial next month over the stabbing death of a 58-year-old woman in 2015, and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Vicky White is the assistant director of corrections at the jail. She was armed when she left the jail but she did so alone with the inmate, which was against policy.
It later emerged that there was no mental health evaluation scheduled for Casey White at the court.
The prison guard has been with the corrections department for 16 years. She lodged an application for retirement the day before she went missing. Her mother told local television that she had just sold her house.
The vehicle the officer and the inmate were in was later found abandoned in the car park of a nearby shopping centre.
Officials did not realise the two were missing until six hours after they left the jail.
Colleagues tried to contact Ms White but her phone went to voicemail. She did not show up for a doctor’s appointment she had scheduled later in the day.
The U.S. Marshals Service offered a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
They said the 260lb inmate would “stand out” even if he changed his appearance.