Suspect in Cassidy Rainwater kidnapping case assigned new judge

Missouri News

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 Nov. 1.

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

Timothy Norton, the other man accused, is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Nov. 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.

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

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

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

According to court documents, on Sept. 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, Rainwater, being held in a cage in a partially nude state.

On Sept. 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, Rainwater 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 Rainwater’s at the loft at that time.

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

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

According to court records, Norton was originally interviewed on Sept. 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 Sept. 20 at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. During that interview, police said Norton confessed that he knew Rainwater was being held at the home of 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, Oct. 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 Rainwater has been found.

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