With Casey White now back behind bars after a jail escape and 11 days on the run, the family of one of his former girlfriends hopes that they may get answers in her death 14 years ago.
Christy Lynn Shelton McKee, 31, died Feb. 1, 2008, from a sawed-off shotgun wound to the chest.
Investigators at the time ruled McKee’s death a suicide, but her family in north Alabama said they didn’t believe then – and don’t believe now – that the mother of three daughter took her own life.
“In our hearts, we believe that she didn’t do that to herself,’’ said McKee’s brother, Tyler Rolin. “We need closure on that because we’ve never gotten it.”
Casey White, 38, and jail supervisor Vicky White, 56, left the Lauderdale County Jail on April 29 in a low-key, but well-planned, escape.
Video released by Indiana authorities on Tuesday showed the arrest of Casey White and showed as law enforcement officers pulled Vicky White from the crashed vehicle, where she was unresponsive and still clutching a handgun authorities said she used to end her own life.
At a press conference earlier this week, Vanderburgh County, Ind. Sheriff Dave Wedding said had the pair not crashed, Casey White planned to “engage in a shootout” with law enforcement “at the stake of both of them losing their lives.”
McKee’s family closely watched the ordeal unfold over the past two weeks.
“It’s been so surreal,’’ Rolin said.
In 2008, McKee had been dating Casey White for about a year.
Rolin was 17 at the time and close to his sister, staying with her and Casey White most weekends.
“She was so happy, and she told me she was the happiest she had ever been when they were together,’’ Rolin said.
“I did like him,’’ he said. “He would drink with me. I thought he was cool.”
“It was like a little brother, big brother situation,’’ Rolin said.
But McKee struggled with drug use, her brother said, and made bad choices in the men she dated.
She adored her three young daughters, who ranged in age at the time from toddler to young teen, but they were taken from her while she was dating Casey White.
Rolin said during a DHR visit, social workers saw Casey White’s guns in the home, including the sawed-off shotgun officials would later say she used to shoot herself.
The three girls were taken from McKee’s custody, and it devastated her.
“After that, she was just crumbling,’’ he said. “I do recall her saying that she wanted to kill herself, but I just knew she would never do that.”
Rolin and McKee had a conversation about what needed to be done for McKee to retain custody of the girls.
“That’s all she wanted, more than anything,’’ he said. “She was heartbroken.”
“My sister was rough around the edges, and she picked the wrong guys,’’ he said, “But she was a wonderful person, and her heart was huge. She was never involved in anything malicious.”
“She cared about her kids a lot, and she took care of them,’’ he said.
“She knew that she had to dump Casey,’’ he said. “She had to leave him if she ever wanted to get her kids back.”
On that 2008 February night, McKee died in Casey White’s trailer, which was near the Tennessee state line, from the shotgun blast to the chest.
“My theory is that she told him that night (that she wanted to break up) and that he couldn’t handle it,’’ Rolin said.
Investigators at the time said there was no blood found on Casey White or his clothing and reported to the family that he appeared distraught over Shelton’s death.
“He could have easily showered that off or changed clothes,’’ Rolin said. “I think he might have fooled them that night.”
“The police said he was crying and very hysterical and I don’t doubt that one bit because I know he can turn it on,’’ he said. “He’s a master manipulator.”
Rolin said case was quickly closed as a suicide, but the family never felt that is what happened.
“It was just all too much – a woman killing herself with a sawed-off shotgun?’’ Rolin said. “I never thought it rang true from the very beginning. She didn’t even know how to use a gun honestly.”
Casey White made the news in 2015 following a crime that led to 2019 convictions on a total of nine charges, including trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping her two roommates.
Other charges included first degree robbery, first degree burglary, third degree burglary, breaking and entering a vehicle, animal cruelty for shooting a dog and attempting to elude.
Rolin said when he saw him on the news in connection with those incidents, he immediately thought about his sister’s death and Casey White’s possible involvement.
“I thought they really should open the case back up with Christy,’’ he said. “But we didn’t bring it back up. We figured it was too long gone.”
“We had avoided it,’’ Rolin said. “It was like opening old wounds.”
In 2020, Casey White made the news when he came forward and confessed to the 2015 murder of 59-year-old Connie Ridgeway. He was charged with capital murder and is set to go to trial next month.
But it wasn’t until the most recent events that the family reached back out to Limestone County investigators about McKee’s death and McKee’s oldest daughter posted about her mother on social media.
A spokeswoman for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office confirmed investigators were re-examining McKee’s death but did not elaborate.
“I would love to see him either admit it, or the investigators possibly exhume her body and do another autopsy,’’ Rolin said. “I want to see further investigation.”
“We haven’t gotten over it, and that’s a big part of it’’ he said. “We need closure.”