The capture of an escaped Alabama prison inmate accused of killing his mother felt like "a miracle" to Austin Williams on Monday.
Casey White, 36, was charged with capital murder in the 2015 death of Williams' mother, Connie Ridgeway, 58, and was awaiting trial when he escaped on April 29 from Lauderdale County Jail.
White and Vicky White, 56, the corrections officer who has been accused of abetting his escape, were caught by authorities after a chase in Evansville, Indiana, on Monday. Casey White surrendered and is now in custody, while Vicky White died after authorities believe she shot herself in the head.
The chase ended an 11-day manhunt across three states and gave relief to Williams and his family in knowing his mother's alleged killer was back in custody.
"I kind of think to myself, wow, it’s a miracle," Williams told NBC News correspondent Sam Brock. "It’s a miracle, because that’s not what I expected. I really didn’t expect it to end well at all.
"It’s just a night and day difference," he continued. "It’s like you’re going through the darkest night. And then the next day the sun is shining and everything is back to normal."
White was already serving 75 years behind bars for a string of other crimes, but Williams and his family having been waiting years for someone to be brought to justice for his mother's death.
White confessed to a Lauderdale County investigator in 2020 to killing Ridgeway but has since recanted and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, authorities said. Ridgeway's family has waited seven years to get some answers about her death at White's eventual trial.
"Just wanting to get justice for your mother," Williams said. "Not knowing what happened for years and years is a hard, hard struggle. And then when you have the guy and he escapes, it just reopens all that."
Williams feared that if White evaded authorities or was killed in a confrontation with police that their family might never find out exactly what happened to his mother, who was found stabbed to death in her apartment.
"I would have that doubt, as well as wondering, 'Do we have the right person? Are they still out there?'" he said.
Casey White and Vicky White, who were not related, had developed a "special relationship" over at least two years, authorities said. White referred to her as his wife to police after Monday's car crash, the U.S. Marshals Service told NBC News. There is no indication the two were married, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said on TODAY Tuesday.
Vicky White filed her retirement papers after 17 years on the job one day before the two disappeared, police said. She also sold her house five weeks earlier for well below market price in what authorities believed was a move to make some quick cash.
"I want to find out what happened," Williams said. "I’m like everybody else, I want to know, was Casey the manipulator, or was Vicky kind of going to have one like last escapade before her retirement?'
Williams said he was grateful that the "huge roller coaster" of the past week and a half come to an end.
"I would definitely say this is the longest 11 days of my life I’ve ever had," he said. "It’s just a whirlwind, a complete whirlwind."
He added that "it could've ended better" and that he would have been "a lot happier" if Vicky White had survived.
"You feel bad for her, her friends and family," he said.