Officials have described the “challenging” hunt for Alabama’s escaped convict Casey White and Vicky White, the prison officer who helped him, while saying they were always confident of catching the couple.
Speaking on Monday, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said the pair — who have the same surname but were not related — were found at a hotel in Indiana and caught following a vehicle chase. Casey White is now back in custody, while Ms White died in hospital due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mr Singleton told reporters that finding them was a challenge because their escape “was obviously well-planned and calculated”.
“I knew we would catch them. It was just a matter of time,” he said at a news conference.
“What was so challenging about this escape was, most escapes — from a county jail especially — they’re not planned. They’re just sort of spontaneous. There are no resources available, no plan in place about what am I gonna do when I get out here other than just run.
“This escape was obviously well-planned and calculated,” he explained. “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, [when] we started — they got a six-hour head start on us.”
Vicky White served as assistant director of corrections at the Alabama detention centre where Casey White was being held on capital murder charges.
Ms White was seriously wounded when officers from the US Marshals Service moved in to arrest the couple after ramming their vehicle in a car chase. Casey White, referring to the officer as his wife, had told police the wound was self-inflicted.
“Ya’ll help my wife, she shot herself in the head and I didn’t do it,” White told officers, according to a CNN report quoting US Marshal Matt Keely.
Mr Keely said they believe the couple was not married. An autopsy on Ms White’s body is scheduled for later on Tuesday.
Mr Singleton had earlier said the convict and the officer were being brought back to Alabama for arraignment and would be placed in separate facilities.
While White had a decade-long criminal history, including charges of assaulting his brother with an axe-sledgehammer handle, home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, for which he was serving a 75-year jail term, Ms White was facing charges of forgery and identity theft related to the escape, in addition to the charge of permitting or facilitating an inmate’s escape.