Two have been charged with first-degree murder of Cassidy Rainwater in Missouri

CJ Coombs

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Cassidy RainwaterNew Channel 8, Tampa

Cassidy Rainwater’s disappearance on July 25, 2021, and murder continue to be investigated. The authorities didn’t receive notification that she was missing until August. Since then, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating her disappearance and subsequent murder.

Rainwater was 33 years old and as reported by KY3 News, she had ties with the counties of Dallas, Greene, and Laclede in Missouri.

On November 17, the Dallas County prosecutor filed first-degree murder charges against James Phelps and Timothy Norton for the murder of Rainwater. They were also charged with kidnapping and abandonment of a corpse. There has been no evidence gathered by investigators to show there are any other victims.

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Left: James Phelps; Right: Timothy NortonPhoto: Dallas County Sheriff's Office; Source: wfla.com

Norton told investigators he was asked by Phelps to help kill Rainwater. He admitted she was strangled by Phelps. He supplied gruesome details about the killing and body dismemberment.

Phelps said the last time he saw Cassidy was on July 25. He said she left in the middle of the night. It was reported that according to court documents on the day before Cassidy went missing, Phelps asked Norton to come to the house to help restrain Cassidy.

On September 16, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was informed by a Kansas City FBI agent about an anonymous tip saying Rainwater was caged on Phelps’ property. The police found photos on Phelps’ phone which initiated his arrest, and he was then placed in the Dallas County Jail. On September 19, Norton was interviewed by the police regarding Rainwater’s disappearance during which they unfolded some inaccuracies in his statements. On the following day, he admitted to having restrained Rainwater in July and was then booked and jailed.

On October 1, it was confirmed that investigators were waiting on DNA evidence results. Three days later, the house that was rented by Phelps was said to have “burned to the ground.” On October 5, both Phelps and Norton appeared at a hearing with their public defenders, and a preliminary hearing was set for November 5. On October 30, due to a change in judge assignment, the November 5 preliminary hearing was canceled.

During the investigation of the house fire, an incendiary device was found and in mid-October, it was concluded by the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office, the fire was an act of arson.

As reported by KY3 News:

“According to detectives, Rainwater had been staying with Phelps while she got on her feet. Investigators say Phelps claims she had left in the middle of the night at the end of July, and he had not seen her since then.”

It was reported the new judge assigned to this case is Judge John C. Porter.

The investigation is ongoing and if anyone has information associated with this case, they should contact Dallas County Sheriff’s Office at 417-345-2441.

Sources: KY3.com; News Channel 8;

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Hello! I have 30 years of experience in the legal field, and a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. I am an incessant thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into the service life of the Air Force in Louisiana, life has taken me to Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and ultimately to Missouri, I don't have that true concept of "home," but believe every living experience is tied to language. I love my family, art, true crime, non-fiction, reading, travel, and red pinot.

Kansas City, MO
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