It’s a tragic end for a runaway against a backdrop of romance that has fascinated America: Police arrested an “extremely dangerous” inmate on Monday in the state of Indiana, while the jailer, who released him and also on the run in late April, died.
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Vanderburgh County authorities are “investigating the death of Alabama fugitive Vicky White,” they confirmed to AFP Monday night.
Ms White died at 7 p.m. and an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, she added in a statement.
Vicky White and Casey White were arrested after a chase with the police. The couple were chased while in a Ford pickup truck in the heart of the Midwest town of Evansville, said Sheriff Rick Singleton, who is responsible for coordinating the hunt for the fugitives.
“She shot herself and was seriously injured,” Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding told CNN.
“During the chase, the pick-up had an accident. Casey White surrendered,” Rick Singleton said.
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Beginning in an Alabama prison, their escape took place over ten days, hundreds of miles, and in at least four states.
Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, share the same name but are not related.
The unlikely duo has sparked great interest, mainly because of the contradictions between them: she, a model civil servant with an apparently orderly life; he, a 2.06 m tall multi-recidivist behemoth, jailed for suspected murder.
“Today we put a very dangerous man out of action,” Sheriff Singleton said. “And he’ll never see the open air again.”
His men received a tip about the couple’s presence in Indiana and CCTV footage recorded at a car wash where the Ford pickup was seen.
“It gets harder every year to succeed in these kinds of escapes, editor’s note), with the ubiquity of video surveillance and the ability of the media and social networks to make this information public in real time,” noted former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe on CNN.
For the past few days and until Monday, however, the two fugitives appeared to be at least one step ahead of their pursuers.
“We’re back to square one,” Sheriff Singleton lamented Friday, noting that the escape plan was “very well thought out.”
On April 29, Vicky White released Casey White with alarming ease from his prison in the city of Florence, where he was serving a 75-year sentence. The woman oversaw the transfer of prisoners for the Lauderdale County Sheriff.
A video shows the officer escorting the tall, tattooed prisoner, whose feet and hands were tied with chains, to his police car and took him outside under the false pretext of a psychological evaluation to the court.
The “model employee” according to the sheriff, described by the prosecutor as “the most reliable person in prison”, had then arranged for a replacement vehicle in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center.
This car, which the official had bought under a false name, was found in a pound in Tennessee, without this uptick in the investigations really enabling the investigators to move forward.
It is later revealed that the jailer had withdrawn about $90,000 in cash, bought the proceeds from the recent sale of her home and plain clothes to replace her companion’s prison suit.
The bounty that authorities had offered in exchange for information that could lead to the arrest of the two fugitives had been increased to $25,000.