Two men accused of keeping missing woman Cassidy Rainwater locked in a cage on Missouri property

James Phelps and Timothy Norton were charged with kidnapping after an anonymous tipster told investigators about photos showing Ms Rainwater in captivity

Independent Staff
Wednesday 29 September 2021 21:43
<p>Two police mugshots are juxtaposed side by side. On the left is James Phelps, a white man in his late fifties. On the right is Timothy Norton, a white man in his late fifties.</p>

Two police mugshots are juxtaposed side by side. On the left is James Phelps, a white man in his late fifties. On the right is Timothy Norton, a white man in his late fifties.

Two men in Missouri are accused of keeping a missing woman locked in a cage in a state of partial nudity, according to court records obtained by local media.

Police charged James Phelps, 58, and Timothy Norton, 56, with kidnapping 33-year-old Cassidy Rainwater, who was reported missing on 25 August after not being seen or heard from for six weeks.

Mr Phelps allegedly told investigators that Ms Rainwater stayed with him at his home in rural Missouri, near the city of Lebanon, until she could get back on her feet, before suddenly leaving in the middle of the night.

But in court documents seen by Kansas City news channel WDAF, prosecutors say they found seven photos on Mr Phelps’ phone of Ms Rainwater being held partially nude in a cage on his property.

Police have not said whether Ms Rainwater is still alive.

Cassidy Rainwater

According to prosecutors, an anonymous tipster had reported the photos’ existence to an FBI agent in Kansas City on 16 September, leading them to search Mr Phelps’ phone and interview Mr Norton, a trucker.

Mr Phelps had previously claimed that he had not seen Ms Rainwater since she went out to meet an unknown car at the end of his driveway. Detectives noticed that his property appeared “stripped”.

Under interview, Mr Norton allegedly admitted that he had gone to Mr Phelps’ home on 24 July at his request to help restrain Ms Rainwater. Both men are now being held without bail, with a court date set for 5 October.

The Dallas County, Missouri Sheriff’s Office said: “Due to the extreme nature of the crime and the continuation of the investigation, additional details cannot be released at this time. There is no immediate danger to the public.”

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