Two Men Arrested After FBI Receive Photos Of Missing Missouri Woman In Cage — Sparking Cannibalism Fears

Photo: Dallas County Sheriff's Department
Cassidy Rainwater kidnappers arrested

A missing persons case in southwest Missouri is shaking three counties to their core after the two men involved in Cassidy Rainwater’s kidnapping were arrested in Lebanon.

James Phelps, 58, and Timothy Norton, 56, have been charged with Rainwater's kidnapping but the 33-year-old has still not been found.

The FBI received an anonymous tip from someone who provided an image of a woman in a cage in a “partially nude state,” according to court documents.

Where is Cassidy Rainwater?

Police have not yet disclosed whether or not Rainwater is alive or if she has been found, despite arrest Phelps and Norton. 

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Rainwater was reported missing on August 25th, 2021 by a family member who said that they had not heard from or seen her in a while.

James Phelps was the last person to see Cassidy Rainwater alive. 

Following the report of the missing 33-year-old woman, Dallas County investigators discovered that 58-year-old Phelps was the last person to have had any contact with Rainwater, court documents say.

They questioned Phelps, who said that she had been staying at his home on Moon Valley Road “until she could get back on her feet,” and last saw her on July 25th when she left in the middle of the night in a vehicle that stopped at the end of the driveway.

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He showed a deputy around the property, which included the loft area where she had stayed with him.

The deputy reported that the loft looked “somewhat stripped” and had none of Rainwater’s personal belongings.

Photos of Rainwater in a cage were sent to the FBI. 

When the police received an anonymous tip that included a photo of a woman — who they identified to be of Rainwater — caged up on what we now know was Phelps’ property, law enforcement got a search warrant for his phone.

They discovered seven photos of Rainwater locked in a cage at his home while partially nude, according to court documents.

A few days later, police investigated 56-year-old Timothy Norton, who was believed to be Phelps’ accomplice and had the same registered address Phelps’ home on Moon Valley Road.

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“Norton then admitted that after arriving at Phelps’ home he did physically confine [Rainwater] by holding her down for a substantial period of time for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a felony or inflicting physical injury on or terrorizing [her],” a sheriff’s lieutenant wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

Rumors about cannibalism have surrounded Cassidy Rainwater's disappearance. 

An amateur blogger focused on crimes in the Southwest Missouri area claims to have sources connected to the police that have confirmed human remains being discovered on the crime scene that could have been Rainwater’s.

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Conspiracies are floating around that both Norton and Phelps were involved in cannibalistic activities as well, and that information has been kept private in case of a potential mistrial or widespread media coverage.

“My source says that law enforcers with the Dallas and Greene County Sheriff's offices have been pulled off the investigation,” they write, “and that at least two officers have been fired for leaking information about the investigation.”

While none of these claims have been backed up by any official sources, the blogger has shared several screenshots of worried Missourians.

According to court documents, the pair have been charged with kidnapping, facilitating a felony, inflicting injury, and terrorizing, and are due back in court on October 5th.

Until more news unfolds, there’s no confirmation of where Rainwater is.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.