EVANSVILLE — Two Alabama fugitives captured in Indiana on Monday are believed to have been in the state for at least a week before being found.
Vicky White and Casey White led police on a brief chase after they were spotted at a hotel in Evansville.
The search began after a vehicle the couple had allegedly stolen in Tennessee was found abandoned at a car wash in Evansville.
Sheriff Dave Wedding said his department first received a call on May 4 from the car wash about an abandoned vehicle. An officer ran the VIN number and left the vehicle because they couldn't tow it until it had been abandoned for 48 hours – at that point he says there was no mention that the vehicle was connected to Alabama, they thought it was just an abandoned vehicle.
The U.S. Marshals Service said it was notified Sunday night that the vehicle was discovered at a car wash in the 2006 block of Weinbach Avenue.
CNN reports U.S. Marshals previously found a 2007 Ford Edge in a tow lot in Williamson County, Tennessee on Thursday. That’s about two hours north of Florence, Alabama, where the two disappeared.
Marshals were able to confirm it was the vehicle linked to the two after police received a tip.
Wedding said Casey White and Vicky White were discovered Monday afternoon after an officer noticed their vehicle at nearby hotel. The couple was seen exiting the hotel and then a chase ensued.
Wedding said the fugitives drove through a parking lot before leading officers through a grass field. Officers were able to push the Cadillac they were driving into a ditch, which helped corner the fugitives.
Casey White told officers they originally planned on a "shootout with law enforcement" if they were chased.
“I want to bring my people home,” Wedding said. “I don’t care about the fugitives lives if it saves my men’s lives.”
After crashing the vehicle, Wedding said their preliminary investigation suggests that Vicky White turned the gun on herself. Casey White gave up when officers approached the car.
Officers tried to save Vicky White's life, but she "suffered grave injury," Wedding said.
She later died at the hospital. The Vanderburgh County coroner will determine Vicky White's exact cause and manner of death.
Casey White is cooperating with investigators and has signed a waiver of extradition to be returned to a different facility in Alabama.
"He's not getting out of this jail again. I’ll assure you that,” Sheriff Rick Singleton of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said.
Casey White told detectives that he and Vicky were trying to find a place to “lay low” when they chose the hotel in Evansville.
Wedding said the two had paid for a 14-day stay at a hotel and had been in town for at least one week.
“We don’t believe they have any relatives, friends or acquaintances in Vanderburgh County,” he said.
Investigators found several weapons, as well as $29,000 in cash in the car. It appears the two were driving a Ford F-150 that they purchased before they got ahold of the Cadillac.
The fugitives also had "multiple wigs" to hide their appearance, investigators said.
“Their plan was pretty faulty,” Wedding said. “They're (criminals) — their plan was pretty faulty and it failed. Thank god.”
“Crime is everywhere,” he said. “Unexpected crime. Violent crime is everywhere. We never go to work thinking we’re not going to encounter an unusual or violent situation.”
Wedding said living in Evansville means their likelihood of being caught up in violent crime is higher, because of the area's size.
“We have to prepare for that every single day,” he said. “We’re in a very dangerous occupation.”
Singleton has said Vicky White visited Casey White — who was awaiting trial on a capital murder case — in prison months before helping him escape and her actions suggested their plan had been in the works for some time.
Singleton said investigators learned Vicky White had visited the inmate in state prison between his stints at their county detention facility.
Singleton said, “We have confirmed that there were visits and that there was communication between the two of them when he was in prison and she was still working here."
The U.S. Marshals Service offered up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of Casey White and up to $5,000 for the capture of Vicky White. The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office is offering an additional $5,000 for each.
A warrant was issued May 2 for Vicky Sue White on suspicion of permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree in connection with Casey White's escape.
Authorities said Vicky White sold her home a month ago, and she was supposed to retire on April 29, the day she and Casey White disappeared.