Mystery of naked woman found in cage takes stunning turn

·2-min read

The house where a missing woman was allegedly kept locked in a cage has mysteriously gone up in flames after authorities discovered it had been booby-trapped.

The Missouri home belonged to James Phelp, 58, who is accused of kidnapping, inflicting injury and terrorising Cassidy Rainwater.

A bomb squad was called after fire crews battling the blaze discovered a tripwire and a live explosive device, which was able to be detonated.

A home near Windyville, Missouri, belonging to James Phelps. Source: The Kansas City Star
A fire destroyed a home near Windyville, Missouri, belonging to James Phelps. Source: The Kansas City Star

It‘s not clear how the fire started.

The fire comes more than two months after the 33-year-old vanished on July 25.

The investigation into her disappearance took a dark turn in mid-September when the FBI was anonymously sent a series of photographs which showed Ms Rainwater semi-nude in a cage and a tip that she was being held captive at Phelps’ property.

James Phelps (left) and Timothy Norton (right) are charged with kidnapping Ms Rainwater and inflicting injury. Source: Dallas County Sheriff's Office
James Phelps and Timothy Norton, a trucker who had been living on his property, are charged with kidnapping Ms Rainwater and inflicting injury. Source: Dallas County Sheriff's Office

Phelps and his co-defendant Timothy Norton, a trucker who had been living on his property, have since been taken into custody and charged.

Police said Norton admitted to helping restrain Ms Rainwater, but his lawyer, Brandon Twibell, on Wednesday told local media that his client denies all the allegations.

Phelps’ public defender is yet to make a comment on the allegations.

A photo of missing woman Cassidy Rainwater who was held in a cage at some point at James Phelps’ home following her disappearance. Source: Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Cassidy Rainwater was held in a cage at some point at James Phelps’ home following her disappearance. Source: Dallas County Sheriff's Office

Police tight-lipped as search for missing woman continues

Mystery still surrounds the whereabouts of Ms Rainwater.

According to court documents, Phelps told police that she had left his home in the middle of the night a month earlier and got into a vehicle at the end of his driveway.

Authorities have refused to share many details of the bizarre case, reportedly citing the “extreme nature of the crime”.

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