DALLAS COUNTY, Mo.- According to court documents, Cassidy Rainwater’s remains have been found on a property belonging to two men accused of kidnapping her and keeping her in a cage.
James Phelps and Timothy Norton have been charged with first-degree murder. They are also facing charges for the abandonment of a corpse. Norton has a criminal hearing scheduled for November 23, and Phelps will appear in court on November 19.
Court documents say that on September 16, the FBI provided the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office with pictures sent to the FBI as a cyber tip. Some of those photos showed Rainwater partially nude in a cage. Other pictures showed Rainwater’s body bound to a gantry crane device. Authorities say this device is commonly used for processing wild game. That same day Phelps was arrested.
During the execution of a search warrant, investigators on the scene of the Moon Valley Road property found the gantry crane, potential blood evidence, and items from a freezer that appeared to be human flesh dated July 24.
Court documents say the items were sent to a crime lab for testing and the lab confirmed they were consistent with Rainwater’s DNA. Authorities say they found Rainwater’s skeletal remains located near the property where Phelps disposed of them. During the investigation of digital evidence, authorities found that Phelps and Norton were planning to murder Rainwater on July 24.
On September 17, authorities attempted to interview Phelps but he invoked his rights to an attorney and refused to answer questions. Court documents say on September 20, FBI officials interviewed Norton at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. Norton told investigators that Phelps asked him to go to the property while Rainwater was sleeping. The documents indicated the two would attack her while Norton held down her legs and Phelps strangled her. Authorities say the men then hung her body on the gantry and Norton helped Phelps dismember the body.
“We have not located any evidence that would lead us to believe there are any other victims associated with Phelps and Norton at this time. This is still an ongoing investigation,” the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. “If there is anyone who believes they may information concerning this case, they can call investigators at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office at 417-345-2441.”
Cassidy Rainwater’s brother spoke to a reporter and said he hopes to release a statement tomorrow after speaking with family members.
Members of the community have spoken out about the new information, including Windyville business owner Katie Heflin.
“It’s horrible but as a community even though we didn’t know her we’re still praying for her family and we know she had kids. We’re all praying for them. No matter what she did, she didn’t deserve that. No matter what had happened,” says Heflin.
Heflin says that she feels the Dallas County Sheriff was not completely honest with the community when addressing the rumors surrounding the case.
“I don’t think he was being truthful… to say that 99.9 percent of the rumors are false when what came out today confirms 75 percent of them, that means only 25% of the rumors were false. So it’s very concerning for all of us,” says Heflin.
The Dallas County Sheriff released a statement on Facebook during the investigation in October urging the community to stop spreading rumors and wait for investigators to release information.