Two Missouri men are facing kidnapping and terrorizing charges Tuesday after they allegedly kept a missing woman locked in a cage on one of their properties and lied to authorities during the investigation, according to court documents.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an FBI agent in Kansas City on Sept. 16 about an anonymous tip, advising that there was a photo showing the missing woman, Cassidy Rainwater, 33, being held in a cage, court documents stated. Rainwater has been missing since July 25, authorities said.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the cell phone of James Phelps, 58, – one of the suspects – and said they found seven partially nude photos of Rainwater being held in a cage on his property in Lebanon, about 160 miles southwest of St. Louis.
Timothy Norton, 56, and James Phelps, 58, are facing charges after they allegedly kept a missing woman in a cage in Missouri. (Dallas County Sheriff’s Office)
The other suspect, Timothy Norton, 56, was identified by detectives as being connected to the case, FOX 4 of Kansas City reported.
Norton was interviewed on Sept. 19 and told investigators he was an over-the-road trucker who lived in his truck even when he was not actively working. He was interviewed again the following day after officers said they determined he provided information that was not accurate.
During that interview, Norton confessed that he knew Rainwater was being held inside a cage at the home of Phelps, police said. Norton allegedly said he helped restrain the victim on July 24 after Phelps asked him to come to his home.
The last person to have seen Rainwater was Phelps, according to court documents. While the sheriff’s office has yet to release details on Rainwater’s location or status, it wrote in a Facebook post on Sept. 18 that there was “no immediate danger to the public.”
This missing woman, Cassidy Rainwater, 33. (Dallas County Sheriff’s Office)
On Sept. 1, a detective went to the home of Phelps, who said Rainwater had been staying with him until she could get back on her feet, according to court records. Authorities said Phelps told the detective that roughly a month prior, she left in the middle of the night and met a vehicle at the end of the driveway and had not been heard from since.
The detective noted that he didn’t see any of her belongings at the loft on the property, which looked like it had been “stripped,” FOX 4 reported. Phelps said the woman had been talking about going to Colorado.
Norton and Phelps were both arrested this month following the anonymous tip.
They are each charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, facilitating a felony, inflicting injury, and terrorizing – a class B felony.
Phelps was assigned a public defender, while Norton appeared in court Tuesday without a lawyer via video conference and was moved to the Greene County Jail in Springfield.
The next court date for both men is Oct. 5.