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How are the escaped Alabama inmate and officer still missing? Money, expert says.

An Alabama corrections officer and escaped inmate may have evaded police for more than a week, but it is just “a matter of time” until they slip up and are caught, says a former commander with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Former corrections officer Vicky White, 56, and inmate Casey White, 38, vanished on April 29, and authorities have since said the couple had a “jailhouse romance” and were planning their escape.

The pair has likely been able to go undetected because of Vicky White’s more than $90,000 in cash from selling her home a month ago, said Lenny DePaul, the former chief inspector and commander of the U.S. Marshals’ New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The Whites, who are not related, can afford to “go dark” for a while and avoid detection, DePaul told USA TODAY: “It could be a couple of days, could be a couple of weeks, could be six months. But there’ll be a break.”

DePaul is not associated with the ongoing investigation.

‘BACK AT SQUARE ONE’: Police find abandoned SUV but inmate, officer still missing

Vicky White, whom authorities have since called an accomplice, allegedly told coworkers she was taking Casey White to a courthouse appointment before the couple vanished. Surveillance footage shows Vicky White escorting Casey White out of the Lauderdale County Detention Center and into a patrol car, which was found abandoned in a shopping center later in the day.

Vicky White allegedly sold her home and was set to retire the day the couple fled, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement. A warrant has since been issued for her arrest.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said Friday the discovery of a 2007 orange Ford Edge getaway vehicle about 100 miles from the jail puts investigators “back at square one” as the couple had “a very calculated plan.”

“We’re sort of at a loss,” Singleton said after the vehicle was found in a Tennessee towing lot. Singleton said the vehicle had been towed the day the Whites fled from the jail but it wasn’t until Thursday that authorities in Tennessee realized it was the same car tied to the search.

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White purchased the vehicle using an alias, Singleton said. Video also showed her at a Quality Inn within walking distance from where she bought the car on the night before the escape. The vehicle may have had mechanical issues that “threw them a curve” they didn’t plan for, Singleton said, but the Whites have likely recovered. Vicky White is likely using new fake identities, too, he added.

PREVIOUSLY: Vicky White, escaped inmate Casey White had ‘special relationship’

DePaul, who has spent more than 30 years working on fugitive investigations, said it’s likely investigators are focusing on Vicky White and “tearing her world upside down” to try to anticipate the couple’s next steps.

“You become them,” he said about investigators. “What would your next move be?”

Authorities would likely look at her digital footprint to get a sense of who she has been in contact with, where she has visited and what her routines are, he added. Her internet history and social media connections may also come in handy, DePaul said.

In 2021, the Marshals arrested more than 84,000 fugitives on federal, state and local warrants, according to the Justice Department. While most are not as high profile, the public attention in the Whites’ case is a good thing, DePaul said, given Casey White’s physical appearance.

At 6 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing approximately 330 pounds, “he’s not going to be hiding in plain sight,” DePaul said.

Vicky White is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and the Marshals Service released photos comparing the couple’s height next to each other. The Marshals Service also released photos of Vicky White showing what she would look like if her hair were darkened.

DePaul said tips from the public could be helpful to getting a lead, and Singleton told CNN tips of reported sightings have come in from Florida to Kentucky. The Marshals on Friday said they were offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Casey White and $5,000 for information on Vicky White.

A concern moving forward, DePaul said, will be whether the Whites can be taken into custody without incident. The couple should be considered dangerous and are believed to be armed with an AR-15 rifle, handguns and a shotgun, the Marshals Service said.

Casey White, who was serving a 75-year prison sentence on kidnapping and attempted murder charges, was also set to go to trial next month in a capital murder case, which police say he confessed to.

This video grab taken from a handout footage released by Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department shows Casey White, an inmate at the Lauderdale Co. Detention Facility escaping with the help of Vicky White, the assistant director of Alabama corrections on April 29. 2022.

The Marshals Service said Casey White also threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her sister if he ever got out of prison and that he wanted police to kill him.

Given Casey White’s history of violence, Vicky White may also be in danger, DePaul said. Singleton expressed a similar concern, calling Casey White “volatile” and saying he could turn on her at any time.

Singleton said the Whites had a relationship stemming back two years, including visits and phone calls beyond Vicky White’s work hours. Casey White also received special privileges other inmates didn’t have, he said.

As the search drags on, however, “time is on (investigators’) side,” DePaul said. The Whites will “make a mistake, and then they’ll be all over ’em like a cheap suit.”

Contributing: Christine Fernando, N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Cady Stanton, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Vicky White update: Money likely helping inmate, officer stay missing

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