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Alabama corrections official Vicky White dies after she and escaped capital murder suspect Casey White were captured in Indiana

Alabama corrections official Vicky White dies
Alabama corrections official Vicky White dead, Casey White captured in Indiana 03:43

Alabama corrections official Vicky White and escaped capital murder suspect Casey Cole White were captured in Indiana on Monday after more than a week-long manhunt, Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said. Vicky White, who had been hospitalized after the pair was apprehended, died later Monday night, the Vanderburgh County Coroner said in a statement to CBS affiliate WEVV

Coroner Steve Lockyear said in the statement that White died at 7:06 p.m. local time, adding that an autopsy is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Authorities have not publicly released a cause of death, but a source from the U.S. Marshals office told CBS News that authorities believe Vicky White suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

At a press conference earlier Monday, Singleton said Casey White surrendered without incident and Vicky White was hospitalized after their vehicle crashed. He did not provide any additional details about her injuries. 

The capture came after a citizen tip led authorities to Evansville, Indiana, more than 200 miles from where they initially disappeared, Singleton said. Two law enforcement sources told CBS News' senior investigative producer Pat Milton that investigators had "developed information" that they were potentially driving an older model Cadillac not far from a car wash where a Ford F-150 had been abandoned. The Ford F-150 had been reported stolen from Tennessee, which is where authorities found the vehicle the pair had most recently been known to be driving, the sources said. 

The U.S. Marshals Service found the Cadillac at a hotel and set up surveillance, the sources said. They then spotted the pair leaving the hotel and getting in the vehicle, with Casey White driving and Vicky White in the passenger's seat. A chase ensued when they refused to pull over, which ended when the car flipped over into a ditch. 

One law enforcement source told CBS News that as investigators took Casey White into custody, he said, "She shot herself. I did not do it."

Casey Cole White and Vicky White
Casey Cole White and Vicky White Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office

Prior to Vicky White's death, Singleton said the pair would be extradited to Alabama, with Casey White set to be arraigned quickly in Lauderdale County before he's transferred to the Department of Corrections.

"We got a very dangerous man off the streets today," Singleton said. "And he is never going to see the light of day again." 

The news comes more than a week after the pair's April 29 disappearance. Vicky White told her colleagues that morning that she was taking Casey White to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation, authorities said. But her patrol vehicle was found in a parking lot hours later — and by 3:30 p.m., officials realized that both she and Casey White were missing. 

Authorities later said there had been no scheduled mental health evaluation, adding that it appears Vicky White — who was supposed to retire at the end of the day — drove her patrol vehicle to the parking lot where it was later found immediately after leaving the courthouse with Casey White. 

Singleton said the pair had a "special relationship" and that they were in contact over the phone for months before Casey White's escape. Singleton said there is currently no evidence that the relationship was physical or sexual.

He also said the escape incident showed him it's hard to know who you can trust.

"You know, I had every bit of trust in Vicky White. She has been an exemplary employee," he said before her death. "And what in the world provoked her or prompted her to pull something like this, I don't know. I don't know if we'll ever know." 

Vicky White had initially been charged with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree, and was also charged Monday with forgery in the second degree and identity theft for allegedly using an alias to obtain a vehicle used in the escape — a Ford Edge that had been located "in the middle of nowhere" in Tennessee and towed by local authorities at approximately 2 p.m. the day the pair first ran off. 

Before they were apprehended on Monday, the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators had traveled to Evansville, Indiana, after receiving a tip. 

The Marshals Service said it had been told that a 2006 Ford F-150, a car the pair was believed to have been using, had been found at a car wash in Evansville. Surveillance camera images show a man standing near the car wearing a hat, sunglasses, a pink shirt and tan pants — though the Marshals Service did not definitively identify the man as Casey White. 

A screengrab of surveillance footage taken at the car wash.  The U.S. Marshals Service

Casey White was originally being held at the jail on capital murder charges in the 2015 death of Connie Ridgeway. Singleton said Monday that when White is eventually returned to Lauderdale County for trial, he will ensure he's in a cell alone with an enhanced level of protection. 

"He will stay in handcuffs and shackles while he's in that cell," Singleton said. "And if he wants to sue me for violating his civil rights, so be it. He's not getting out of this jail again, I'll assure you that."  

Matthew Mosk contributed reporting. This story has been updated with additional details from law enforcement.

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