The Alabama corrections officer and the prison inmate who disappeared six days ago had a relationship spanning years that included her calling him at a state prison.
Law enforcement officials shared more details of the relationship between Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, as a manhunt continues for the two of them after they disappeared on April 29 when Vicky White said she was transporting the murder suspect from Lauderdale County Jail.
Casey White was serving a 75-year sentence for a number of violent crimes and also has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of a 58-year-old woman.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement on Thursday that Vicky White was in contact by phone with Casey White (no relation) for years while he was incarcerated in a state prison in Donaldson, Alabama. (Earlier, Singleton told NBC News correspondent Sam Brock on TODAY that White had driven hours to visit Casey White in person at the prison. After the segment aired, the sheriff's office issued a statement saying that was a mistake, and that Vicky White only contacted him by phone).
"He was here in 2020 for an arraignment and preliminary hearing, and when he finished that, he went back to state prison," Singleton said. "We do know they remained in touch while he was in state prison."
The detail of their phone conversations during his time in prison comes after authorities said on Wednesday that the two had a "special relationship" that included regular correspondence and meetings after her work hours.
White filed her retirement papers a day before the two disappeared, police said. Also, court records show she sold her house five weeks ago at well below market value for $95,000, which has police concerned that she was just looking to make some quick cash.
The situation has left many of White's former colleagues in disbelief, as she was a four-time Employee of the Year with a spotless record.
"This could happen with the best of the folks," Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said on TODAY Thursday. "Vicky White, I would trust with my life. She’s that kind of solid person.”
Now she has a warrant out for her arrest on charges of permitting or aiding in White’s escape. Singleton also said Wednesday that she is no longer employed with the sheriff's office without saying if she's been fired.
The 6-foot-9 inmate and 5-foot-5 corrections officer have not been seen since leaving the jail together last week. New surveillance video from a gas station shows the pair driving on a local road in her patrol car. The two ditched the car for a Ford Edge getaway car that was later found in Florence, Alabama.
Authorities say he could have changed his clothes and his appearance and that the two may be heavily armed. Casey White has also threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister if he ever got out of prison, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Vicky White owned an AR-15, a shotgun and another pistol as personal weapons, according to Singleton.
"But I think the fact that she owns them, I think it’s a fair assumption that they’re with them," he told Brock.
The U.S. Marshals Service says it has zero credible information as to what direction the two might be traveling. One commander deputy told Brock that in his 20-plus years on the job this is the first case where they do not have anything solid.