Owner of burned northwest Missouri opera house missing

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | 3:58 p.m. CDT

MAITLAND — Investigators in northwest Missouri have been sifting through the remains of a burned out opera house while also looking into the disappearance of the building's owner.

Holt County Sheriff Scott Wedlock said investigators on Tuesday uncovered new evidence at the Maitland Opera House, which was destroyed by a fire Saturday. He said the evidence is being analyzed by forensic experts, but he declined to elaborate, The St. Joseph News-Press reported.

Authorities have also been looking for 66-year-old Kenneth Rainwater, who owned the building and who has not been seen since Saturday. Rainwater, who lived at the opera house, was released from jail on Aug. 19 on $50,000 bond, on charges of possession of child pornography. Court records show Rainwater was scheduled for a hearing on the case Wednesday. His lawyer, Michelle K. Davidson, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Wedlock said two notes were found in Rainwater's car Saturday after fire crews tried to extinguish the blaze at the opera house. One detailed his "military explosive experience," and the second said he would leave the country because "he couldn't get a fair trial." Court records show authorities also believe Rainwater may have tried to get a second identity.

The investigation includes the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the Holt County Sheriff's Department, Nodaway County authorities and the Missouri State Fire Marshal's office.

Maitland is a town of about 350 residents in far northwest Missouri.

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