January 1, 2022
One of the men accused of the kidnapping and murder of Cassidy Rainwater-Paul attended a truck driving school in Lebanon.
Timothy Norton was enrolled in Clement Truck Driving Academy in Lebanon, Missouri, in June of 2020. While enrolled at the school, he stayed in an apartment that was adjacent to the school that was provided by the academy.
Misty Hilton, whose fiancé Jared Pate attended the trucking school with Norton, says Norton "had terrible hygiene and long stringy greasy hair" while attending the school. Pate said he became aware that Norton was using meth and told him he needed to clean up his act or he would not be able to graduate from the school and find future employment as a truck driver, according to Hilton.
|Jared Pate and Misty Hilton|
He had a "weird habit" of wearing combat boots 24/7 and only took them off about once a week, according to Hilton's fiancé. Norton told Pate that he had served both stateside and overseas while he was in the military in the mid-'80s.
Norton and Jared Pate both became employed by Butler Transport Inc. in Kansas City, Kansas after graduating from Clement Truck Driving Academy. Not long after he was employed by Butler, Norton had a stroke, according to Hilton. "He was off for like three or four months," said Hilton. Hilton says that Norton's girlfriend, Amanda Cowley, would call into Butler for Norton. "The office staff thought that was odd since she wasn't his wife," she said.
Amanda Cowley met Tim Norton through her best friend, Alexis Cummins, who was engaged to Dalton Chaffin; Norton is Chaffin's step-uncle. "I was homeless and Tim agreed to let me live with him. Not long after I moved in I caught Alexis in bed with Tim at a trailer we were all living at about three years ago or so," he said. Chaffin said the trailer was a dump and almost every inch of the inside of the dwelling was covered with dog feces.
"Lura (Norton's wife) went crazy about me finding them in bed and me, Alexis and Tim moved out to the cabin for a couple of months around Christmas time," Chaffin said.
|Amanda Cowley (Facebook)|
On August 9, 2021, Hilton and Pate ran into Norton and Cowley on the road in Denver, Colorado. He had totally changed his look--cut his hair and cleaned up, she said. "They visited with us on our truck for a while and Tim said he got himself a young one this time (referring to Cowley.) I got a weird vibe from him," she said.
Norton and Cowley would sleep in Norton's truck on property where his "brother" James Phelps' was living on Moon Valley Road when they were off the road, according to Hilton. "They invited us to a bar-b-que out there, she said. I thank God we didn't go."
Cowley said that Norton always referred to Phelps as his brother when he spoke of him.
Check-ins on Amanda Cowley's Facebook page place her in Park City, Utah, and headed to Ohio with Norton on August 11, 2021. When Pate ran into Norton in September, he told him that he "kicked Amanda off his truck because she was spending all my money." Norton told Pate that he dropped Cowley off at James Phelps' cabin on Moon Valley Road.
On September 9, 2021, Cowley posted on Facebook that she was back in Missouri and "so happy."
Hilton says she was at Butler Transport in October when the FBI showed up to seize video from Norton's truck. Trucks are now equipped with video and audio recording capability that can be easily downloaded for investigations into accidents, etc., according to Hilton.
When Amanda Cowley was contacted through Facebook in early December 2021 and asked about her connection to the Moon Valley Road property she had no comment.
Hilton says that there were several times that James Phelps showed up at Butler Transport in Kansas to pick up Norton when he didn't take his truck back to the Moon Valley Road property.
In August of 2021, a relative reported Cassidy missing and said she was last seen at a DFS meeting in Lebanon in early July.
The FBI passed along a cyber-tip with photographs labeled "Cassidy" to Dallas County investigators on September 16, 2021.
Norton was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Cassidy in late September as he was leaving a Walmart in Lebanon, according to Hilton. Dallas County prosecutor Jonathan Barker said in a court hearing last year that Norton and Phelps would troll for victims online and at Walmart's.
It would take authorities two more months to add murder charges against Norton and James Phelps for Cassidy's death. Pictures on Phelps' phone allegedly show a partially nude Cassidy being held in a cage and tortured within the cabin and tied to a gantry crane outside, where she was disemboweled.
Norton told investigators that Phelps called him on July 24, 2021, to come to the cabin to hold Cassidy's legs down while he placed a bag over her head and strangled her. He said he also helped Phelps carry her out to the gantry crane and then back to the bathtub in the cabin where she was dismembered.
Investigators found bags of Cassidy's flesh inside a freezer in the cabin. The bags were dated 7/24 and had her initials on them. Cassidy's ex-boyfriend says he, and the children they shared, were swabbed for DNA and that's how her remains were identified.
Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice says Norton and Phelps had been planning Cassidy's murder for a couple of months.
In early October of 2021, the cabin on Moon Valley Road burned to the ground. The fire has been ruled arson and there have been no arrests made in connection to that incident.
Dalton Chaffin says there was only one bathtub in the cabin. A bathtub was in the fire rubble after the blaze. Whether or not it is the bathtub that Cassidy was dismembered in is not known at this time.
Hilton spoke with a detective with the Dallas County Sheriff's Office about Norton in late September of 2021 when Cassidy was still listed as a missing person. "He asked me if I knew anything about an Indian religion or Indian rituals that Norton was involved in. I told him that Amanda was Wiccan and I wasn't sure what Norton was into."
Norton's preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 2nd and Phelps' for February 4th. It will be at those hearings in Dallas County where judges will decide if there is enough evidence for the cases to proceed to trial.
I was contacted by another student who attended Clement Truck Driving Academy with Tim Norton this afternoon which puts some of the information above in question. I have reached out to the Academy who said they had "no comment at this time."
Working to verify this new information.