Authorities announced Wednesday that two men were charged with the murder of a woman after she was photographed partially covered in a cage.
James Phelps and Timothy Norton were also charged with kidnapping and first-degree killing. The Dallas County Sheriff’s office confirmed that the victim was Cassidy Rainwater, 33, based on DNA analysis of the remains found at Phelps’ house.
The FBI provided several photos of her body to investigators on Sept. 16. They showed her tied to a crane that is mostly used for deer processing. Scott Rice, Dallas County Sheriff said in a long Facebook post that she had also seen her “evisceration, dismemberment” photos.
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Authorities said that Rainwater’s remains were found in a nearby property, in a freezer marked “7-24”, and some of them were also found in the freezer. The sheriff stated that digital evidence found revealed that Rainwater and her husband had planned her death.
Rainwater was reported missing Aug. 25th by a woman, who stated that Rainwater had last been seen with Phelps in August.
Phelps, who was then made a suspect of the crime, told police that Rainwater had been staying at his house until Rainwater got up on her feet. He also mentioned that Rainwater wanted to go to Colorado.
According to him, she had met someone one month before her disappearance in a vehicle at his driveway and fled in the middle of the night.
Norton stated that he visited Rainwater during a conversation with FBI agents. According to the sheriff, Norton claimed that he held Rainwater’s legs down while Phelps strangled her. He also placed a plastic bag on her head.
Authorities claim that the two men took a break after she was declared dead and then carried her body outside. Norton said that Norton told Norton that Phelps tied her to the gantry crane, and then began dismembering it.
Norton stated that he helped Rainwater’s body into the bathtub.
Investigators determined that the fire was arson and destroyed Phelps’ house on Oct. 4. Officials investigating the fire discovered two explosive devices with balloon covers and mortar tubes with tripwires near the house.
The sheriff stated that investigators do not have any evidence to suggest that Norton or Phelps are victims of other victims.
Norton will appear in court next Tuesday and Phelps on Friday.
Norton’s lawyer, Brenden Twibell, told the Springfield News-Leader the charges were expected and that he will plead not guilty.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.
Source: Fox News