The Alabama corrections officer and the prison inmate who disappeared nearly a week ago had a "special relationship" that included regular correspondence and meetings after her work hours, police said.
A manhunt for Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, entered its sixth day on Wednesday after the two disappeared on April 29 when Vicky White was transporting the murder suspect from the Lauderdale County Jail.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said investigators have found evidence of a "special relationship" between the two, who are not related, but it couldn't be "physical" based on the surveillance studied by police.
"We have discovered some evidence that confirms that there was a relationship outside her work hours," Singleton told NBC News correspondent Sam Brock on TODAY Wednesday. "I’m not talking about a physical relationship. But outside her work hours, there was some contact between the two.”
A newly released surveillance video shows the pair leaving the jail on April 29 as Vicky White holds the door open for Casey White, who is handcuffed and shackled.
Casey White was serving a 75-year sentence for a string of crimes and also is facing a capital murder charge in the stabbing death of a 58-year-old woman. Vicky White, who was a four-time Employee of the Year with a spotless record, now has a warrant out for her arrest on charges of permitting or aiding in White's escape.
"Everybody loved her — nobody, nobody had nothing but good things to say about Vicky, ever," former Lauderdale County inmate John McCulloch, who has known her for about 15 years, told Brock. "Never heard a bad word about her."
White filed her retirement papers a day before the two disappeared, police said. Also, court records show she sold her house five weeks ago for $95,000, considered well below market value. Industry research indicates it's worth three times that amount, which has sparked concern by police that she was just looking for quick cash.
She has been divorced since 1991 and has no children. according to AL.com. Her mother told local news station WAAY that her daughter had never mentioned retirement in the five weeks she had been living with her since White sold her house.
The sheriff's department has also confirmed that an abandoned 2007 Ford Edge with damage to the rear bumper was their getaway car. A miscommunication led a local police department to publish an alert about the vehicle, which Singleton said may have prompted the two to ditch it.
"It’s basically put us back to almost square one," Singleton said. "We know they’re going to probably get rid of that vehicle, so now then we’re not going to have a clue again what they’re driving.”