While my books are fictional, my work is often inspired by true crimes in the Midwest and Ozark regions. Recently, when I heard about a missing woman being kept in a cage in the small town where I went to high school—the second case in recent years involving caged women in Lebanon, Missouri—I was driven to start discussing these crimes on TikTok. I focus on missing persons cases and murders in small towns and rural areas, especially cases that haven't received much attention in the national news. As always, if you have information about an unresolved case, please contact law enforcement. And, if you think small Midwestern towns are quiet and crime-free, think again.
Cassidy Rainwater was reported missing from the Lebanon area in the summer of 2021. She had been staying with James Phelps while she was "getting back on her feet." Photos of Cassidy partially nude in a cage soon led to rumors of cannibalism and sales of human flesh on the dark web. Many of the horrific rumors turned out to be true. Cassidy's mother, Tracy Wahwassuck, also disappeared from Lebanon years earlier, her remains later found in a field.