More details released in Rainwater case, murder charges filed
DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. – The County Prosecutor files murder charges in the Cassidy Rainwater case in southwest Missouri.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office laid out the case on social media today, announcing details surrounding the murder. Evidence found in a September search included Rainwater’s remains.
CASSIDY RAINWATER: MISSING PERSON CASE
On August 25, 2021, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office took a missing person report. The reporting party allegedly revealed Cassidy Rainwater was last seen about six weeks before. The reporting party told the Sheriff’s Office that the last person she believed to have seen Cassidy was James Rainwater. Authorities later learned that James was in fact James Phelps, who lived at 386 Moon Valley road in Lebanon, Missouri.
After taking the report, deputies drove to that address the same day. They got there and met James Phelps, asking her if he knew Cassidy Rainwater. “Phelps advised he did but he had not spoken to her in about a month. Phelps advised Cassidy had made a statement about going to Colorado,” stated the Sheriff’s Office.
On September 1, 2021, a Dallas County Detective drove to 386 Moon Valley Road. He spoke with Phelps about the missing person case of Rainwater. “Phelps told the Detective that Cassidy had been staying with him until she got back on her feet, and she had been there for a couple of weeks,” states the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities say “Phelps repeated to the Detective that Cassidy had been talking about going to Colorado. Phelps stated that about a month prior, Cassidy had met a vehicle at the end of the driveway and left in the middle of the night. Phelps stated he had not seen Cassidy since.”
On Sept. 16, the FBI office in Kansas City took an anonymous tip. The FBI then contacted the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, providing a series of photos.
The cyber-tipster gave the FBI photographs titled “Cassidy”. The photos depicted a partially clothed female in a cage who authorities recognized as Cassidy. The other photos showed Cassidy’s body bound to a gantry crane, commonly used for deer processing, and her evisceration and dismemberment.
That same day, the Sheriff’s Office went back out to 386 Moon Valley Road. Detectives got there “and recognized items in Phelps back yard that coincided with the photos.” The Sheriff’s Office says detectives arrested Phelps and took him to the Dallas County Jail.
Authorities then got a search warrant for the property.
THE SEARCH WARRANT
In total, authorities recovered more than 200 pieces of evidence from the property on Moon Valley Road.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Greene County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the FBI executed the search warrant. For the next seven days, investigators processed the entire crime scene.
“Collected during this time was physical evidence including the gantry device, cage, and items from the freezer that appeared to be human flesh with a date written on them of 7-24.” The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office states, “Skeletal remains believed to be Cassidy were located on the adjacent property. Also recovered from the scene was digital evidence from electronic devices.”
The crime lab confirmed the remains found in the freezer were those of Cassidy Rainwater.
On the digital devices, authorities found messages between James Phelps and Timothy Norton planning Cassidy’s murder.
Dallas County Prosecutor Jonathan Barker got the search warrant. Judge Lisa Henderson signed it.
JAMES PHELPS, TIMOTHY NORTON ARRESTED
On September 20, 2021, FBI agents interviewed Timothy Norton. “Norton confessed to the murder of Cassidy Rainwater,” the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office states. He also allegedly told the FBI that Phelps had him come over while Cassidy was sleeping in the living room floor, so he had easy access to attack Cassidy.
“Norton stated, after entering the house, he held Cassidy’s legs down while Phelps strangled her and placed a bag over her head.” The Sheriff’s Office statement continued, “Norton stated that after Cassidy was deceased, he and Phelps took a short break before carrying her body outside.”
Timothy Norton also allegedly stated to the FBI that after going into the home, he held Cassidy’s legs down while Phelps strangled her and placed a bag over her head. He allegedly told agents that after she was dead, he and Phelps took a short break before carrying her body outside. “Norton stated that Phelps bound her to the gantry crane and Phelps began evisceration and dismemberment of Cassidy’s body. Norton stated he helped Phelps carry Cassidy’s body into the house and placed her into the bathtub.”
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has not found any evidence to make them believe there are any other victims associated with Phelps and Norton.
They are still investigating the case.
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.
PHELPS’ HOME BURNS DOWN
Investigators say the home of alleged kidnapper James Phelps burned to the ground late Monday night, October 4, 2021.
Multiple fire crews responded to the scene on Moon Valley Road in the Windyville area of Dallas County, Missouri. They worked to put out hotspots. According to a Fox affiliate, while out there, a Dallas County deputy found something that resembled a tripwire. The Springfield bomb squad responded to investigate. Authorities say they detonated an explosive device near the area of the fire.
Previous Article: Home of alleged kidnapper James Phelps burns down
SHERIFF ADDRESSES RUMORS, FAKE NEWS
“99.999999% of what has been posted to social media is CRAP,” stated Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice, addressing fake news surrounding the Cassidy Rainwater case.
Sheriff Rice addressed misinformation and rumors on social media Thursday evening, October 7, 2021.
You can read more here.
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