Sheriff addresses fake news surrounding Cassidy Rainwater case
DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. – “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.
Someone reported Rainwater missing in August. No one had seen her since July.
The FBI got a tip about her whereabouts and alerted the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. They obtained a search warrant and collected evidence from the home of James Phelps. Authorities later arrested him and Timothy Norton. Prosecutors have charged both suspects in the kidnapping of Rainwater. But, she is still missing.
Authorities are releasing information as they decide appropriate, reminding folks that this is an ongoing investigation. “We are working in the real-world and this is an active ongoing investigation. When all members of the prosecution team believe that it is appropriate to release information, we will keep you informed. Until that time, I can tell you we have all parties involved with Cassidy Rainwater’s case in jail and we expect additional charges to be filed in the coming days,” stated Sheriff Rice on social media.
Statement on Fake News regarding Cassidy Rainwater Case
The following is Sheriff Rice’s statement via the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“Addressing Fake News:
There is a lot of misinformation and rumors regarding the Cassidy Rainwater case being circulated across social media and various news platforms.
While I understand the impatience and curiosity of the people, I’m going to give you a piece of advice. It is not a good idea to listen to “a crime reporter/blogger “or Tic Tok videos that is sitting in their apartment or their mommy and daddy’s basement eating Great Value cheese puffs and drinking box wine with grand intentions of being a social media superstar. If you are hanging on very word is this type of crap, believing it to be fact, you are living in a fantasy world.
This isn’t a tv series or movie where we go to commercial break and have lab results in 15 minutes. Searching a crime scene for 7 days 24 hours a day takes that long, 168 hours.
99.999999% of what has been posted to social media is CRAP.
Law Enforcement Officers must play within the rules of the American Criminal Justice system. While the system has its faults, it’s still the best system in the world. We are judged by a jury of our peers with a Judge presiding over the case, a Prosecutor who presents the case, and a Defense attorney who defends their client.
This is where ALL facts of the case come out, not Tic Tok, Facebook, or any other social media outlet. NO, you are not entitled to a play by play of an ongoing investigation. If you want to be in the know, we are hiring along with every other law enforcement agency in the country.
We are working in the real-world and this is an active ongoing investigation. When all members of the prosecution team believe that it is appropriate to release information, we will keep you informed. Until that time, I can tell you we have all parties involved with Cassidy Rainwater’s case in jail and we expect additional charges to be filed in the coming days.
If you are not a resident and are planning a trip into our Beautiful County to sightsee, remember a few things. While the citizens of Dallas County are friendly, neighborly, caring, and kind people, we do not like those who show up to trespass, litter, vandalize, harass, or destroy property. If this is your intention, you are not welcome here and we will prosecute you for this.
Cassidy Rainwater: Missing Person Case
On August 26, 2021, the Dallas County, Missouri Sheriff’s Office took a missing person report. The reporting party told authorities that Cassidy Rainwater had been missing since July 25, 2021. The Sheriff’s Office says she has associations in Dallas, Laclede and Greene Counties in southwest Missouri.
After the report of Rainwater’s disappearance, authorities questioned James Phelps at his home on Moon Valley Road. Investigators believe he was the last person to be in contact with her. According to a Fox affiliate, Phelps acknowledged that Rainwater had been staying with him while she got back on her feet. However, he claims he hadn’t seen her since she left his property a month prior.
Authorities looked in the loft on his property where she was staying. They found it “stripped” with no personal belongings of Rainwater’s. They then left the property.
On Sept. 16, the FBI office in Kansas City received an anonymous tip, which included a photo of Rainwater in a cage. The FBI forwarded that information to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
That same day, the Sheriff’s Office got a search warrant for James Phelps’ phone. They found several photos of Rainwater locked in a cage, according to court documents.
During a search of the property, deputies and federal agents took items for the investigation. Authorities have not disclosed what those items were.
James Phelps, Timothy Norton Arrested
Since the tip and search of the property, authorities have arrested two people.
Prosecutors charged James Phelps and Timothy Norton with felony kidnapping. According to court documents, investigators said Norton admitted he helped Phelps to restrain Rainwater.
Norton and Phelps are in the Dallas County Jail without bond.
The suspects appeared in court on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, via Polycom for a criminal hearing. The courts set a preliminary hearing for November 5 at 9:30 a.m.
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.
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