What we know about the Dallas Co. investigation of a missing woman

James Phelps and Timothy Norton have been charged for kidnapping in Cassidy Rainwater’s disappearance
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 11:43 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Dallas County investigation into the disappearance of Cassidy Rainwater has taken multiple turns.

That now includes a fire we first told you about Monday night.

Our crews were first on the scene and verified that it destroyed the home at the center of the investigation.

During efforts to put out that fire a sheriff’s deputy found a trip wire.

The Springfield Fire Department Bomb Squad was called out. A short time later a suspicious device was detonated.

Investigators returned Tuesday during daylight hours to comb over the area. They are trying to figure out how the fire started and if there could be more trip wires.

This all happened the night before James Phelps and Timothy Norton went before a judge for a criminal setting hearing.

They are charged with first-degree felony kidnapping in Rainwater’s disappearance. Both men are being held in separate jails without bond, Phelps is in Dallas County, Norton is in Greene County.

There are lots of rumors about this case are circulating since we broke the story of Phelps arrest last month.

Our team is in constant contact with Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice however no further details are being released pending forensic results.

We spoke to a woman who lives near Phelps. She asked us to conceal her identity for her protection.

“I’ve been very upset by it,” she said.

She says she also knows Cassidy Rainwater and that her small neighborhood near Windyville has been rattled by this investigation.

“I pray, oh Lord mercy how I’m praying that she just ran off,” she said referring to Rainwater.

But authorities say she didn’t.

Phelps told investigators that he last saw Rainwater on July 25. He said that she took off in the middle of the night.

A month later, on August 25 her family reported her missing to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

By September 1 authorities alerted the public asking for any information about her disappearance.

Weeks later on September 16 the FBI tipped off local law enforcement with information that Rainwater was on the property Phelps is renting. They handed over photographic evidence of her partially nude in a cage.

Deputies followed up and found photos of her on Phelps’ phone and promptly arrested him.

“To think that a person I thought well of at one time is involved or capable of such a thing is obviously very alarming and nauseating frankly, shocking,” said Phelps’ neighbor.

Three days later on September 19 Norton was questioned by police. Investigators say his story didn’t add up to what Phelps had told them.

The next day, September 20 detectives questioned Norton again. That’s when he admitted to restraining Rainwater in July.

On September 21 Norton was arrested.

We were first to report that multiple agencies including the FBI and County Crime Scene Unit were assisting the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office in their efforts to gather evidence from the location on Moon Valley Road on September 22. They had been combing the location for a few days.

By September 23 law enforcement wrapped up their search.

“If these people have committed such horrible crimes as they are accused I hope the legal system prosecutes them to the fullest extent,” said Phelps’ neighbor.

Authorities have still not confirmed if Rainwater has been located.

Phelps and Norton now have public defenders and will be back in front of a Dallas County judge next month.

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