KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – Two Missouri men face charges after prosecutors say they kept a missing woman locked in a cage on their property, according to court records.
Timothy L. Norton and James D. Phelps were each charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, facilitating a felony, inflicting injury, and terrorizing, a class B felony.
On Aug. 25, law enforcement took a report of a missing woman, who was last seen six weeks prior.
According to court documents, on Sept. 16, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an FBI agent in Kansas City about an anonymous tip. The tipster advised there was a photo showing the missing woman partially nude and being held in a cage.
The last person to have seen her was James Phelps, according to court documents.
On Sept. 1, a detective spoke to Phelps at his home in Lebanon, Missouri. He said that the woman had been staying with him until she could get back on her feet, court records said. He said she had been talking about going to Colorado.
According to court documents, Phelps told the detective that about a month prior, she left in the middle of the night and met a vehicle at the end of the driveway in the dark and had not been seen or heard from since.
The detective noticed the loft on the property looked like it had been “stripped,” and they did not notice any of the woman’s belongings in the loft at that time.
On Sept. 16, investigators secured a search warrant for James Phelps’ cellphone. That’s when they said they found seven photos of the woman partially nude in a cage.
During the investigation, detectives said they identified Timothy Norton as being connected to the case.
According to court records, Norton was originally interviewed on Sept. 19 and after his interview, officers determined he had provided information that was not accurate. He told investigators he’s a trucker and lived in his truck even when he was not actively working, police said.
Norton was interviewed again on Sept. 20 at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. During that interview, police said Norton confessed that he knew the missing woman was being held at the home of James Phelps in a cage.
Court records said he also told detectives that on July 24, Phelps contacted him to come to his home to help restrain the victim, which he did.
James Phelps was assigned a public defender in Dallas County court Tuesday. The public defender’s office did not return a request for comment. His next court date is Oct. 5.
Timothy Norton appeared in court Tuesday without a lawyer by video conference. He was moved to the Greene County Jail. He is also in court Oct. 5.
Both men are being held without bond.