DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. — Two Missouri men are facing charges after prosecutors allege they kept a missing woman locked in a cage on their property, according to court records. And that woman is reported as missing.
Timothy L. Norton and James D. Phelps are each charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, facilitating a felony, inflicting injury, and terrorizing, a class B felony.
According to court documents, on Sept. 16, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an FBI agent in Kansas City about an anonymous tip. The tipster advised there was a photo showing a missing person, Cassidy Rainwater, being held in a cage in a partially nude state.
On Aug. 25, law enforcement took a report of a missing person, Cassidy Rainwater, who was last seen six weeks prior to the report. The last person to have seen her was James Phelps, according to court documents.
On Sept. 1, a detective spoke to Phelps at his home in Lebanon. He said that Cassidy had been staying with him until she could get back on her feet, court records say. He said she had been talking about going to Colorado.
According to court documents, Phelps told the detective that about a month prior, Cassidy left in the middle of the night and met a vehicle at the end of the driveway in the dark and had not been seen or heard from since.
The detective noticed the loft on the property looked like it had been “stripped,” and they did not notice any belongings of Cassidy’s at the loft at that time.
On Sept. 16, investigators received a search warrant for James Phelps’ cell phone, and court records say they found seven photos of Cassidy Rainwater partially nude being held in a cage on his property on Moon Valley Road in Lebanon in Dallas County.
During the investigation, detectives identified Timothy Norton as being connected to the case.
According to court records, Norton was originally interviewed on Sept. 19 and after his interview, officers determined he had provided information that was not accurate.
He told investigators he was an over-the-road trucker and lives in his truck even when he was not actively working, police said.
Norton was interviewed again on Sept. 20 at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. During that interview, police said Norton confessed that he knew Cassidy Rainwater was being held at the home of James Phelps in a cage.
Court records say he also told detectives that on July 24, Phelps contacted him to come to his home to help restrain the victim, which he did.
James Phelps was assigned a public defender in Dallas County court Tuesday. The public defender’s office did not return WDAF request for comment. His next court date is Oct. 5 for a criminal setting.
Timothy Norton appeared in court Tuesday without a lawyer by video conference. He was moved to the Greene County Jail. He is also in court Oct. 5 for a criminal setting.
Both men are being held without bond.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has not released additional details on the suspected whereabouts of Cassidy Rainwater, but did say in a Facebook post that there is no immediate danger to the public.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s office release a statement late Monday evening: “Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the missing person case of Cassidy Rainwater. The F.B.I. received information as to the possible whereabouts of Cassidy. On 09/16/2021 the F.B.I. forwarded this information to Dallas County Detectives. On that same date, we served a search warrant at an address on Moon Valley Road. While there, we recovered many items for further investigation. We wish to thank Greene County Sheriff Arnott for is support sending the Greene County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit along with manpower. We would also like to thank the F.B.I for all the assistance they have been providing. This is an incredibly difficult time for Cassidy’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We ask that you all respect their privacy. To protect our investigative process and increase possibility for successful prosecution, we have no additional comment.“
Stay with Joplin News First for Breaking News and more important stories on our news tab at FSHP. Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you don’t miss an article. Click here then check the box next to our name and click subscribe.