GRAPHIC: Remains found in freezer ID’d as missing Missouri woman

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST
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BUFFALO, Mo. (KY3/Gray News) - DNA tests confirmed that remains found in a freezer at a Missouri home belonged to missing woman Cassidy Rainwater, Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice said to KY3.

GRAPHIC WARNING: Details in this story may disturb some readers.

The Dallas County prosecutor on Wednesday filed first-degree murder charges against James Phelps and Timothy Norton for Rainwater’s death. The prosecutor also charged them with the abandonment of a corpse. They each faced kidnapping charges in Rainwater’s disappearance.

The two men were arrested in September after authorities found body parts in Phelps’ freezer during a search for Rainwater, authorities said.

Cassidy Rainwater was reported missing in August.
Cassidy Rainwater was reported missing in August.(KY3)

Investigators said Norton admitted Phelps asked him to help kill Rainwater while she was staying at Phelps’ home, and he held down Rainwater’s legs while Phelps strangled her. Her body was disemboweled and dismembered.

More than 200 pieces of evidence were recovered at the home, authorities said.

Rainwater was reported missing at the end of August, KY3 reported.

Detectives said she had been staying with Phelps while she got on her feet.

Phelps told authorities in August that he hadn’t seen her since July and that she had left in the middle of the night.

FBI investigators contacted detectives in Dallas County in mid-September, saying they received photos from an anonymous tipster showing Rainwater partially nude in a cage. Other photos showed her evisceration and dismemberment.

Officials discovered seven photos of Rainwater on Phelps’ phone.

James Phelps and Timothy Norton were charged in connection with Cassidy Rainwater's death.
James Phelps and Timothy Norton were charged in connection with Cassidy Rainwater's death.(Dallas County Sheriff's Office)

Rice dismissed rumors spreading on social media, saying some facts about the case cannot yet be disclosed.

Investigators have not located any evidence leading them to believe there are any other victims associated with Phelps and Norton at this time. Rice said this is an ongoing investigation.

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