Missouri men charged with murdering missing woman who was kept in cage

Two men have been charged with the murder of a missing Missouri woman after her dismembered remains were discovered in the home of one of the suspects, authorities said.

James Phelps, 58, and Timothy Norton, 56, have been in jail since mid-September after they were charged with kidnapping 33-year-old Cassidy Rainwater.

The murder charges came after the woman’s remains were positively identified, authorities said this week.

The two were first busted after authorities found photos of Rainwater partially nude in a cage at Phelps’ home near Lebanon.

Phelps had told investigators Rainwater, who was reported missing in August, stayed at his house temporarily, but left and was headed to Colorado, according to Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice.

The woman who reported Rainwater missing had told police she was last seen with Phelps.

But investigators searching Phelps’ home found items dated July 24 that appeared to be human remains — along with a gantry device, which is commonly used for deer processing, and a cage, according to Rice.

James Phelps is now facing a murder charge in the case.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Office via AP
This undated photo provided by Dallas County Sheriff's Office in Buffalo, Missouri shows Timothy Norton.
Norton said that Phelps asked him to kill Cassidy Rainwater.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Office via AP

DNA tests later positively identified the remains as belonging to Rainwater.

Norton has told investigators that Phelps asked him to help kill Rainwater while she was staying at his home, Rice said.

According to Rice, Norton said he held Rainwater down while Phelps placed a plastic bag over the woman’s head and strangled her.

Cassidy Rainwater
Cassidy Rainwater’s remains were recently identified.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Office

Phelps’ home was destroyed by fire on Oct. 4. Investigators ruled the blaze an arson and found two explosive devices with trip wires near the home.

Phelps and Norton have also been charged with abandoning a corpse.

With Post wires

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