“This measure may have saved the lives of many of my MPs (and other officers),” Wedding said.
“(Casey White) said he’s probably going to have a shootout, it’s at stake that they both lose their lives,” Wedding said.
But they seemed equipped for more hiding: In Cadillac, police found about $29,000 in cash, a wig, four handguns and an AR-15 rifle, Wedding said Tuesday. Police previously said Vicki White may have been using cash from a recent home sale.
Wedding said the couple ended up in Evansville for a week, but had paid for a 14-day stay at the hotel.
“They thought … they had driven long enough that they wanted to stop for a while, correct their directions, and then decide where to go next,” Wedding said.
According to an initial investigation, a third person may have helped the couple book the inn room. Wedding said Casey White and Vicki White tried to get a room at first, but couldn’t because she didn’t have an ID. He said the room had been paid for 14 days, and when the two left, it looked as if it had been “cleaned”.
The hotel manager told CNN he had never seen the fugitives and did not know they were staying there. He said it was possible they were visiting someone staying at the motel or someone else checked into a room for them.
At the Vanderburgh County Jail in Indiana on Tuesday, Casey White waived his right to an extradition hearing.
“I want to go back to Alabama,” Casey White, who was wearing a yellow suit and orange flip-flops, said as he appeared before a judge from prison.
When he returns to Alabama, Rick Singleton, mayor of Lauderdale County in Alabama and former president of Vicki White, said he will immediately appear before a judge for trial and then be transferred to the state’s Department of Corrections instead of county custody.
Wedding said Tuesday that Casey White spoke freely with investigators after his arrest.
“He was very frank with the investigators last night,” Wedding said. “They had a fairly lengthy interview.”
What led to the chase
Evansville Police Chief Billy Boleyn said Tuesday that Vicki White, 56, and Casey White, 38, have been in Evansville since at least May 2, when a city police officer proactively checked the license plate of a 2006 Ford F-150 truck.
Authorities now believe the couple purchased the truck on a camper van in Tennessee — but a May 2 examination did not indicate any connection between the truck and the runaway husband, Pauline said.
Also Monday, an Evansville police officer noticed the Cadillac in the hotel parking lot and “notified us immediately,” Wedding said.
Then law enforcement officers monitored the motel. Marshall Marty Kelly said officers saw Vicki White leaving the hotel wearing a wig on Monday. Then, she and Casey White got into a Cadillac and drove away.
The authorities gave chase. The couple “escaped from the hotel parking lot, heading north on US Highway 41 (and) handed over to an industry known as Anchor here in Evansville,” Wedding said.
“They went through the parking lot (and) they went through a grass field. The US task force hit the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch,” Wedding told a news conference on Tuesday.
Kelly said the car crashed and overturned. Casey White was driving the car, according to the US marshals.
Casey White reportedly asked authorities to help his “wife” who shot herself in the head and told them he didn’t, according to Kelly. Kelly said Casey White and Vicki White were not married as far as detectives knew, and authorities had previously said they were not related.
Wedding said the coroner will confirm whether Vicki White shot herself.
Vicki White noted that she “put her finger on the trigger”, as he heard the dispatcher say
In an audio transmission from Evansville Police, a dispatcher noted during Monday’s manhunt that “we could hear her on the line saying she put her finger on the trigger.” The dispatcher could be heard earlier saying “they’re calling 911”.
It is not clear who made the 911 call. Authorities have not released the voice they believe contains Vicki White’s voice.
None of the law enforcement officers fired any shots during the pursuit, Singleton said.
The pair disappeared on April 29 from northern Alabama
The couple initially disappeared on April 29 when Vicki White, who was due to retire that day as the assistant director of Lauderdale County Corrections, said she was taking Casey White from the county jail to court for a mental evaluation.
But they never made it to court, and authorities later found out that they had taken him in a patrol car to a shopping center parking lot. Officials said they abandoned that car and drove off in Vicki White’s car that had been set up there the night before.
Casey White will be returned to Alabama, where he was facing murder charges prior to his escape and is already serving a 75-year prison sentence following a 2015 crime wave that included housebreaking, carjacking and police stalking, according to the Marshall Service.
Prior to her death, Vicki White was charged with permitting or facilitating a first-degree escape, as well as fraud and identity theft charges linked to her use of an alias to purchase a 2007 Ford Edge in which the husband left Alabama, officials said.
The veteran officer was described by Singleton as an “exemplary employee” with an “impeccable track record” and the trust and respect of her colleagues. With the investigation opened, Sharif admitted that her apparent behavior was inconsistent with the person her colleagues thought they knew.
“There was clearly a side to Vicki White that we weren’t aware of,” he previously told CNN.
“What got her into the world, it got her to do a trick like that, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” said Singleton.
The research was a challenge for investigators
On Tuesday, Singleton said Vicki White “was the mastermind behind the whole plan.”
“He was behind bars. He couldn’t have planned much behind bars, but, yeah, I think — personally, I think she was the one who put the plan together,” John Berman told CNN on Tuesday.
As the number two in the county detention center, Singleton said, White used her position to carry out the plan.
“I scheduled the truck for that morning, and made sure all the other armed MPs were outside the building and tied up in court. I knew the custody officer would not interrogate her…when I told her she was taking him to Singleton said.”
“She arranged–she bought the getaway car, sold her house, got her hands on cash, went shopping, and bought clothes for him. She just–she clearly put the plan together,” said Singleton.
“Casey White did not escape from the facility; he was only allowed out,” the sheriff said.
Vicki White’s years of law enforcement experience presented unique difficulties for the authorities.
“Obviously, this escape was well planned and calculated,” Singleton said Monday, noting that breakouts from county jails are usually spontaneous. “A lot of preparation went into this. They had a lot of resources, they had cash, they had cars, they had everything they needed to pull this off, and that’s what made this past week and a half so difficult. We were starting from scratch, not That’s just… They started on us for six hours.”
Investigators earlier released a video of Vicki White at the Quality Inn in Florence, Alabama, where they said she had stayed the night before the escape. Singleton also said they had footage of her shopping for men’s clothing in a department store and in an “adult store”, adding that she had “obviously changed clothes” for the prisoner.
The day of the disappearance was scheduled to be her last day on the job, but her retirement papers never expired, according to Singleton. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that she no longer works there.
Counselors at the Lauderdale County Detention Center will be made available to employees who may need them after Vicki White’s death, according to Singleton.
“It’s a small agency, like family,” he told CNN. “Some of these younger MPs were to them like a mother and I know they’re going to take it hard.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the Vanderburgh County location. It is in Indiana. The story also had the wrong first name of US Marshal Marty Kelly.
Jade Tim Garcia, Cristina Sigulia, Elizabeth Wolf, Omar Jimenez, Nadia Romero, Jamil Lynch, Jane Silva, Amara Walker and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.