Left: Casey White (Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office via AP) Right: Vicky White (Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Update 5/11: The story has been updated to include dash camera footage of Vicky White and Casey White’s apprehension.Questions linger after a prison guard was found dead by suicide after going on the lam for 10 days with a 6-foot-9-inch man charged with murder and linked to a white supremacist prison gang.On April 29, Vicky White, who’d been described as an “exemplary employee” at Alabama's Lauderdale County jail, went in to work as usual and simply walked Casey White (no relation) out of the facility. The pair had stolen headlines across the United States over the past week for their low-action escape from the prison and successful evasion of police.
Police finally located the pair Monday night in southern Indiana after receiving a tip. A car chase ensued, during which the suspects’ vehicle flipped after being rammed by a police car. Authorities say that Vicky White shot herself in the head before police could arrest her, and she ultimately died. Casey White survived the crash and was apprehended. Dash camera footage released by the Evansville Police Department Tuesday shows the aftermath of the “PIT,” or police intervention technique,” maneuver, which have been criticized as dangerous and unnecessary.WARNING: This footage contains graphic visuals and language. Some viewers may be disturbed.When police removed Casey White from the vehicle, his first words were that “he didn’t do it,” referring to White’s gunshot wound, and pleaded for them to help his “wife”—authorities said the Whites were not married, although they may have had a romantic relationship.The two would have been rather conspicuous: Vicky White, 56, was 5-foot-5 and 145 pounds, and Casey White, 38, was 6-foot-9, 330 pounds. He was facing murder charges in the 2015 killing of a 59-year-old woman in Lauderdale, Alabama. Police allege he was paid for the killing, and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. White was already serving 75 years for a litany of previous violent crimes in the Alabama prison Vicky worked in.
Authorities say Casey White has several tattoos that indicate he’s affiliated with the white supremacist prison gang called Southern Brotherhood. The tattoo is a shield that includes a swastika, and White also had a Confederate flag tattoo on his back.Weeks before the escape, Vicky White sold her Lexington, Alabama, home for below market value. In the days prior, she visited an adult store and withdrew $90,000 in cash. She also went to stores and purchased large men's clothing. On the day of the escape, Vicky White removed Casey White from his cell and told the other officers that she was taking him to a local courthouse for a “mental health evaluation.” After she left the jail at 9 a.m. that morning, they never saw her again.“Casey White didn't escape from the facility; he was basically just let out,” said Rick Singleton, the sheriff of Alabama's Lauderdale County who also happened to be White’s former boss. After six hours of being unable to contact Vicky White, the jail realized something was amiss and reported the escape. At 11 p.m. officers found her SUV abandoned. For the next 10 days, the two gave authorities the runaround. Police say her years in law enforcement aided her evasion of police.
"A lot of preparation went into this. They had plenty of resources, had cash, had vehicles, had everything they needed to pull this off, and that's what made this last week and a half so challenging. We were starting from ground zero, and not only that... they got a six-hour head start on us,” Singleton said. Police say that to avoid detention, Casey White dressed up as a woman with a wig, and Vicky pushed him around in a wheelchair. Like Casey, Vicky also attempted to change her appearance with a wig. They hopped from state to state as their story gained international attention and police were flooded with tips about the couple's whereabouts. One of those tips hit on May 9, and police spotted the two exiting a hotel in Evansville, Indiana. The two got into their car and drove away. Police say they were forced to put the suspects’ vehicle in the ditch as they were worried the two would fire at police to attempt suicide by cop. Casey White will be going before a judge for an arraignment and sent back to prison in Alabama. Those who knew Vicky White are left with questions. "What in the world provoked her, prompted her to pull a stunt like this, I don't know. I don't know if we'll ever know," Singleton said after White’s death.Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.