Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a jail official who they say helped an inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge to escape from an Alabama jail.
A search was on for the pair.
Inmate Casey Cole White, 38, was shacked and handcuffed when he and Vicky White, the facility's assistant director of corrections, left the Lauderdale County Detention Centre in Florence, Alabama, on Friday morning.
They have not been seen since, although the patrol vehicle that the pair used when leaving the detention centre was found at a nearby shopping centre parking lot after their absence was discovered.
Authorities have no idea where they are, although the inmate should be recognisable by his size. He stands 2.06m tall and weighs about 118kg. Authorities warned that anyone seeing the pair should not approach them.
"We consider both of them dangerous and in all probability, both individuals are armed," US Marshal Marty Keely said at a press conference. He noted that Casey White "will stand out" because of his size even if he has changed his appearance.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said that they had issued an arrest warrant for Vicky White on charges of permitting or allowing an escape. She is not related to Casey White.
She violated a policy that required more than one official to be involved in transporting him, according to Singleton. The policy was put in place when Casey White was jailed two years ago and authorities believed he was planning to escape.
"We know she participated, whether she did that willingly or if she was coerced, threatened somehow to participate in the case, not really sure. We know for sure she did participate," Singleton said.
Vicky White told co-workers she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. But Singleton later said no such evaluation was scheduled. He said video showed the pair left the jail and went straight to that parking lot.
"Casey White, as you've heard me say over and over and over, is an extremely dangerous person and we need to get him located and get him off the street," Singleton said.
Casey White was already serving a prison sentence for attempted murder and burglary when he disappeared. He was set to go to trial next month for stabbing a 58-year-old woman to death. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
The US Marshals Service is offering up to $10,000 for information.
The sheriff said they were shocked by the events that transpired.
"This is not the Vicky White we know, by any stretch of the imagination," the sheriff said.
Singleton said Vicky White had been an exemplary employee and jail employees are "just devastated".
Vicky White had planned to retire and that Friday was to be her last day. He said she had sold her home about a month ago and "talked about going to the beach".
The sheriff said they had no leads at this point on where the two are located.
"If we knew where they were at, we would be there and not here," Singleton said.