New judge assigned in Cassidy Rainwater kidnapping case

Missouri

DALLAS COUNTY, Mo.- Last week, James Phelps, one of the two men accused of kidnapping Cassidy Rainwater, requested a change of judge and was assigned a new judge on November 1.

Phelps’ previous judge was Lisa Henderson; he has been assigned John Porter in Dallas County. Phelps did have a hearing scheduled for November 5, but that was canceled before the judge transfer request.

Timothy Norton, the other man accused, is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on November 5 with Henderson. Earlier this month, Norton’s public defender filed a motion to have a judge consider setting a bond for possible release from jail, but the issue has not yet been placed on the docket.

James D. Phelps (L) and Timothy Norton (R) (Photos: Dallas County Sheriff’s Office)

Phelps and Timothy Norton were arrested in September and charged with the kidnapping of Cassidy Rainwater. Rainwater was last seen in July and was reported missing in late August.

Court documents accuse Phelps and Norton of holding Cassidy Rainwater in a cage on Moon Valley Road near Windyville, Missouri.

According to court documents, on September 16, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an FBI agent in Kansas City about an anonymous tip. The tipster advised there was a photo showing a missing person, Cassidy Rainwater, being held in a cage in a partially nude state.

On September 1, a detective spoke to Phelps at his home in Lebanon. He said that Cassidy had been staying with him until she could get back on her feet, court records say. He said she had been talking about going to Colorado.

According to court documents, Phelps told the detective that about a month prior, Cassidy left in the middle of the night and met a vehicle at the end of the driveway in the dark and had not been seen or heard from since.

The detective noticed the loft on the property looked like it had been “stripped,” and they did not notice any belongings of Cassidy’s at the loft at that time.

On September 16, investigators received a search warrant for James Phelps’ cell phone, and court records say they found seven photos of Cassidy Rainwater partially nude being held in a cage on his property on Moon Valley Road in Lebanon in Dallas County.

During the investigation, detectives identified Timothy Norton as being connected to the case.

According to court records, Norton was originally interviewed on September 19 and after his interview, officers determined he had provided information that was not accurate.

He told investigators he was an over-the-road trucker and lives in his truck even when he was not actively working, police said.

Norton was interviewed again on September 20 at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. During that interview, police said Norton confessed that he knew Cassidy Rainwater was being held at the home of James Phelps in a cage.

Court records say he also told detectives that on July 24, Phelps contacted him to come to his home to help restrain the victim, which he did.

On Monday, October 4, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Facebook stating that the FBI has recovered several items that will be used to further the investigation.

Very few details on this case have been released by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, including whether Cassidy Rainwater has been found.

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