The Missouri home where a man allegedly kept a missing woman locked in a cage has now mysteriously burned down after being booby trapped, sheriff’s officials say.
James Phelps, 58, and his co-defendant Timothy Norton, 56, have been in a Dallas County jail since mid-September after they were charged with kidnapping 33-year-old Cassidy Rainwater.
Authorities said they have photo evidence that Rainwater, who hasn’t been seen since July, was held in a cage at some point at Phelps’ home following her disappearance.
That same home was destroyed in a fire late Monday night, OzarksFirst reports.
Officials said a bomb squad had to be called in after fire crews responding to the blaze discovered a tripwire and a live incendiary device.
The bomb squad ended up detonating an explosive device near the fire in the early hours of Tuesday.
It isn’t clear if officials are investigating the fire in relation to Rainwater’s disappearance.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t responded to the Post’s request for comment.
Authorities started investigating Rainwater’s disappearance after her family reported her missing in late August.
The FBI received a tip shortly after regarding a photo of Rainwater allegedly being held in a cage on Phelps’ property, according to court documents obtained by KTVI.
When questioned by detectives at his home on Sept. 1, Phelps allegedly told them Rainwater had been staying with him until she could move to Colorado.
Phelps claimed that Rainwater had left his home in the middle of the night a month earlier and got into a vehicle at the end of his driveway, according to the court documents.
The detective noted that a loft on the property had allegedly been “stripped” and Rainwater’s belongings were not there.
A search warrant for Phelps’ cellphone uncovered seven photos of a partially nude Rainwater being held in the cage.
Norton allegedly then confessed to helping Phelps restrain Rainwater at the home.
Phelps and Norton were arrested Sept. 16 following a search of the property. They are each charged with kidnapping, facilitating a felony, inflicting injury and terrorizing.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office have not released any additional information regarding their investigation into Rainwater’s disappearance.