Authorities release details about how Cassidy Rainwater was killed at a Dallas Co. home

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 9:55 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The worst fears of Cassidy Rainwater’s family and friends were confirmed Wednesday.

Investigators say DNA testing identified her remains. Investigators found them at the Dallas County home of James Phelps.

Phelps and Timothy Norton were first charged with kidnapping and now face first-degree murder charges.

Cassidy Rainwater was last seen in July. She was reported missing six weeks later.

Investigators were told the last person she was in contact with was Phelps.

Court documents released Wednesday by the Dallas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tell a grim story of how Rainwater was killed.

We know that the FBI tipped off the sheriff’s office with a series of pictures that were sent to them in mid-September. The cyber tip included digital images. One image was of Rainwater partially clothed inside a cage. The other was taken after she was killed.

A few days later, according to detectives, Norton, Phelps’ co-defendant, confessed to what happened on the property at 386 Moon Valley Drive, located just outside of Windyville, on July 24, 2021.

Norton told investigators Phelps asked him to come over while Rainwater was sleeping. She was near the front door of the cabin. He said that Phelps told him it would make it easier to attack her.

Detectives say Norton also admitted to holding down Rainwater while Phelps placed a bag over her head and strangled her.

After the killing, detectives say Norton admitted they took her body outside and tied it to a gantry crane, commonly used for deer processing. Detectives say Norton described to them how Phelps then eviscerated and dismembered Rainwater’s body before he helped him place her in a bathtub inside the house.

This information, along with the cyber tips given to the FBI, was enough for multiple law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough search of the property Phelps was renting.

Investigators seized 200 pieces of evidence, including skeletal remains and human flesh found inside a freezer, that ultimately were determined, through forensic testing, to be that of Rainwater. This ended their search for the missing woman.

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