The night before alleged kidnappers James Phelps and Timothy Norton appeared in court, “the home where Phelps was staying burned to the ground.” Not only that, fire crews had to call in the bomb squad from Springfield, after they nearly stumbled over some tripwires.
Bomb squad at kidnap house
Fire crews called in the bomb squad from Springfield, after they nearly stumbled over some tripwires. The night before the accused kidnappers were slated to appear in court, “the home where Phelps was staying burned to the ground.”
James Phelps and Timothy Norton appeared in court October 5, arrested and charged in connection with the disappearance of Cassidy Rainwater, reported missing in August. The men were rounded up after an image of a partially nude woman being held in a cage surfaced on the dark web in September.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the house went up in flames around 10 p.m. Monday. While “fire crews from multiple stations were working to put out hotspots,” a Dallas County deputy “found something that resembled a tripwire.” They instantly stepped away and yelled for backup.
The bomb squad got there around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday “and shortly after, they detonated an explosive device near the area of the fire.” Officials aren’t saying another word and “don’t have any further information at this time.”
The two men had an alibi for the fire but the bomb squad will probably be adding more charges for that.
When they appeared in court by video conference from the Dallas County Jail, their public defenders didn’t request bond. Both are set for preliminary hearings on November 5.
Going to Colorado
Cassidy Rainwater was last seen in July and was reported missing in late August. On September 16, “the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an FBI agent in Kansas City about an anonymous tip.”
Someone reported “a photo showing a missing person, Cassidy Rainwater, being held in a cage in a partially nude state.” Nobody ever expected the bomb squad would need to be involved.
Detectives had already interrogated Phelps at his home in Lebanon on September 1. He admitted Cassidy “had been staying with him until she could get back on her feet.” He also told them “she had been talking about going to Colorado.” According to Phelps, “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, they came back with a warrant for Phelps’ cell phone. That’s when “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.” They still didn’t suspect any bomb or explosives involvement. That’s about the same time they learned Timothy Norton was connected to the case. He was first interviewed September 19. It didn’t take the police long to find out he was lying to them. “He told investigators he was an over-the-road trucker and lives in his truck even when he was not actively working.”
When they grilled him again at the sheriff’s office on September 20, “Norton confessed that he knew Cassidy Rainwater was being held at the home of James Phelps in a cage.” He also “told detectives that on July 24, Phelps contacted him to come to his home to help restrain the victim, which he did.” Phelps and Norton were arrested in September and charged with kidnapping.
On Monday, “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.” That night, Phelps’ house burned down and the bomb squad had to be called in. One of the details which has not yet been released is whether Cassidy Rainwater has been found. Murder charges have not been filed so hopefully, she’s recovering somewhere safe in witness protection.