Two arrested in case of missing woman kept in a cage

Lebanon, Missouri: The Dallas County Sheriff's Department in Missouri has been working a missing person case since late July. Now, two men have been arrested and a home has been consumed by fire and declared a total loss.


33-year-old Cassidy Rainwater was last seen around July 25. Before then, she had been reportedly staying with 58-year-old James Phelps "until she could get back on her feet" and move to Colorado.


Investigators made contact with Phelps on September 1 and were shown the loft area that she had allegedly been staying in, the investigator noted that the area was "somewhat stripped" of personal belongings.


He told officers that Rainwater had left his home in the middle of the night when she met someone that stopped in a vehicle at the end of the driveway.


At that same time detectives released a photo of Rainwater to the public seeking assistance in locating her.

Cassidy Rainwater, 33, of Lebanon, Missouri.

Approximately two weeks later an image was provided by an anonymous tipster to the FBI in Kansas City. The image depicted a "partially nude" Rainwater, held in a cage.


The FBI forwarded the tip to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the same day, they returned to Phelps' residence on Moon Valley Road armed with a search warrant.


On Phelps' phone officers discovered seven images of Rainwater locked in a cage.


At that time, Phelps was taken into custody. He has been charged with kidnapping and charges of facilitating a felony, inflicting injury and terrorizing.


At the time of his arrest the Dallas County Sheriff's Office announced on Facebook that "additional charges are expected in the coming days. Due to the extreme nature of the crime and the continuation of the investigation, additional details cannot be released at this time. There is no immediate danger to the public."


Citing court documents, the Springfield News-Leader states that 56-year-old Timothy Norton, a man identified as investigators as having connections to the case, told investigators that he had helped confine Rainwater.


He allegedly "did physically confine" Rainwater by "holding her down for a substantial period of time" on July 24 after Phelps asked for assistance.


Norton has also been arrested and charged with kidnapping and remains in custody in the Greene County Jail.


On Monday night the residence on Moon Valley Road burned down. KOLR10 reported that a bomb squad from Springfield was sent to the scene to assist after a Dallas County deputy found what resembled a tripwire.


The bomb squad arrived on the scene just after 1:30 am Tuesday morning and shortly thereafter detonated an explosive device.


Both Phelps and Norton are scheduled to appear in court today.


Apparently in response to the fire at Phelps' residence, the Dallas County Sheriff's Department issued another statement saying, "we recovered many items for further investigation" while executing the search warrant at the residence.


"This is an incredibly difficult time for Cassidy's family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We ask that you all respect their privacy," the statement read without giving any additional information on the status of her missing person case. "To protect our investigative process and increase possibility for successful prosecution, we have no additional comment."