A PRIME suspect in the disappearance of Cassie Compton chillingly asked a reporter who visited him in jail: "What makes a psychopath?"
Brandon Rhodes, who was engaged to Cassie's mom when she vanished in Arkansas in 2014, spoke to the journalist after he was locked up on unrelated charges five years later.
ABC7 news reporter Kaila Lafferty said Rhodes stared into her eyes and "tried to intimidate me into believing he's a psychopath".
The unsolved case hit the news again this week after a viral TikTok video was claimed to show missing Cassie with two black eyes.
The FBI began investigating the possible sighting – although an Instagram user in California came forward to say it was her in the clip.
No trace has been found of home-schooled Cassie, 15, who was last seen at her mom Judy's home in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
She had been to a demolition derby in DeWitt the night before with a friend, and was dropped home between 6pm and 7pm on September 14, 2014.
Judy told police she was sick in bed and heard Cassie come in but did not speak to her. She heard her go out again soon after.
Judy's live-in fiance Brandon Rhodes – who was 24 at the time – sobbed alongside her in a TV interview as they appealed for help finding Cassie.
“There has not been anything, any leads, as far as what happened to her,” said Genevie Strickland of the Morgan Nick Foundation for missing children.
Rhodes was a "person of interest" for police but was never arrested or charged.
In 2015 he was jailed for two years on drugs charges.
Then in 2019 he was held on $1,100,000 bond accused of theft, firearms possession and driving while suspended.
ABC7's Lafferty went to see him in jail where she quizzed him about the day Cassie vanished.
'PAIN MAKES A PSYCHOPATH'
"He says Judy was sick, he said that he was in the back bedroom with her and he never saw Cassie," Lafferty said after the two-hour visit.
"He said she came in, grabbed something, she was there for less than five minutes. He walked outside and a couple of minutes later she was gone."
But Judy told the station Rhodes was not in the bedroom with her and had been cooking dinner ready for when Cassie came home.
Private investigator Tina Storz claimed Rhodes had changed his story about not seeing Cassie, "because this is not what was said from the beginning."
Lafferty also recalled how Rhodes demanded to know if she believed he was innocent, then bizarrely started a conversation about mental illness.
She said: "He was talking about how people think he's a psychopath.
"He asked me what I think makes a psychopath. He was going on and on and on about how it's pain that creates a psychopath.
"I then asked him, are you a sociopath, or psychopath?
"He was like, 'what no', but the whole time he was staring me dead in the eye, trying to intimidate me into believing he's a psychopath, I think."
Rhodes, now 31, denies any involvement in Cassie's disappearance.
Local police and the FBI reopened the cold case investigation this week after a TikTok video went viral.
Internet sleuths claimed the young woman in the clip – sitting in the back of a car with two men and with dark bruises under her eyes – looked like missing Cassie.
Storz, the PI who has investigated the case for years, agreed the woman bears a close resemblance to Cassie.
Stuttgart Police Department said: "We appreciate all the tips and information about Cassie Compton.
"We have the video from TikTok and have the seen the Facebook posts. We are working diligently with the Arkansas State Police and FBI.
"Since this still an open investigation we can’t release any further information right now."
Yesterday another young woman called Haley Grace Phillips said the video showed her after she had been mugged in Los Angeles.
She posted on Instagram: “Thank you, everybody, for worrying … and also thank you for making me post a picture of me with my recovering black eyes.
"I was robbed this weekend. I'm fine. OK? I am not kidnapped.
"And this my phone and I am real and this is a real account.
"So, everyone stop bothering me. … I am Haley Grace.”
A family member also identified Haley in a Facebook post and said she was last seen in LA and had “been missing for a few days.”
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