DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. – One of two men accused of murdering Cassidy Rainwater is expected to appear in court on Friday in Dallas County. 

James Phelps and Timothy Norton were officially charged with killing Rainwater and abandoning her body on Wednesday, November 17.  

In the past 24-hours, OzarksFirst has learned Cassidy Rainwater’s murder took place about a month before a relative reported her missing. 

Authorities say Rainwater was likely staying with Phelps on Moon Valley Road in early July.  

Dallas County deputies accuse Phelps and Norton of killing Rainwater a couple of weeks later. 


The latest court documents made public in Cassidy Rainwater’s disappearance and death claim her alleged killers, James Phelps and Timothy Norton, had planned her murder for the night of July 24, 2021.  

A month later on August 25, Dallas County deputies officially began their search after a relative reports Cassidy missing. 

The same day, a deputy goes to the home on Moon Valley Road where Rainwater was staying, but reports he sees no sign of Cassidy at the cabin.  

A week later on September 1, deputies go to the cabin again a second time to investigate Rainwater’s disappearance. This time, deputies say Phelps admits Cassidy had been living there but claims she left suddenly in late July.  

Two weeks would pass until a new break in the case. On September 16, the FBI receives a cyber tip containing photos of Cassidy. The FBI reports the photos depicted Cassidy being held in a cage alive, as well as after her body was mutilated. 

In the days following, James Phelps and Timothy Norton would be arrested and charged with felony kidnapping. 

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office reports Phelps refused to answer questions without an attorney, however, Norton confessed to helping restrain and kill Cassidy. 

Fast forward to October 4, when someone sets fire to the cabin on Moon Valley Road. State Fire Marshals reported the cause of the fire to be arson, but no one has been arrested. 

Hours after the fire, Phelps and Norton would appear in court for the first time on October 5th. 

Little else was known in the weeks following that hearing until November 17th. On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Phelps and Norton with first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse.  Authorities say remains that matched Rainwater’s DNA were found in Phelps’ cabin.

Deputies report they found other DNA belonging to Cassidy on an adjacent property belonging to the late Bill Rainwater, Cassidy’s grandfather. 

Phelps will be in court in Dallas County on Friday, November 19 at 1:30. Norton’s next hearing is scheduled for November 23.