Two brothers from Wisconsin who often traveled to other states to make deals for their livestock business made one such trip to Missouri last week—and haven't been seen since. Now, per CNN, authorities are scouring a 74-acre farm in Braymer for clues on the disappearance of Nicholas Diemel, 35, and his 24-year-old brother, Justin, and it's feared the brothers are dead. There is a man in custody: Garland "Joey" Nelson, the owner of that Braymer farm, who admitted in a probable cause statement that he drove the truck the Diemel brothers had rented off of his property on July 21 and ditched it in a commuter parking lot in Holt, about 40 minutes away. So far, Nelson has been charged with tampering with a vehicle and is being held without bond, per Action 2 News. More on the case:
- A life dedicated to livestock: Heavy.com notes that the brothers co-own Diemel's Livestock, located in the Green Bay area. Nick Diemel's wife, Lisa, tells Action 2 News that farmers in Missouri, Indiana, and other states raise cattle for her husband's business, and that he often travels out of state for work.
- A final phone call: Rob Chupp, a cousin who also works for the Diemels, tells KMBC that he was the last known person to speak with the brothers at around 11am that Sunday, and that everything seemed fine before their scheduled flight out of Kansas City later that day. "We're just talking about the situation with the cattle and stuff like that," he says. Another cousin adds, "These are two tough boys. It would take a lot to make something happen to them."
- Where authorities are looking: Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish says multiple searches are taking place in both his county and in Caldwell County, including in buildings, waste piles, and ponds on Nelson's property. A release from last week notes "multiple agencies are involved" in the searches. Per FOX6, authorities are now calling it a "long-term death investigation," though they're staying mum on why they think the Diemels are dead.
- Hampered efforts: Slowing down the search is a spot of bad weather that's swept through the area. "We've had some pretty heavy rains the past few days [and] some rains over the weekend as well," Fish tells KMBC. "We had probably 5 inches of rain Saturday [and] a few more inches of rain Sunday. Last night, we had quite a bit of rain, too."
- A criminal past: In 2015, when Nelson was 21, he pleaded guilty to a cattle fraud scheme that caused an overall loss of nearly $300,000, with charges revolving around insurance fraud, loan fraud, and livestock sales, per a Justice Department release. He was sentenced to two years behind bars without parole—KMBC reports he served 13 months and was released in March of last year—and was ordered to compensate victims more than $250,000. WDAF notes he's the son of a Sunday school teacher.
- A desperate family: "Nick is a father of four kids," Lisa Diemel, tells Action 2 News, sharing photos of those children on her Facebook page to let her husband know they miss him. "He's my high school sweetheart. Him not contacting us ... we didn't go for long when he was on trips to check on me or talk to our children. ... I call him every morning, I call him every night, I send a Facebook message, I text him. ... We're just trying to stay optimistic." She tells the USA Today Network-Wisconsin that Justin Diemel has been with the same girlfriend since high school.
- Contact info: Per a Facebook group dedicated to finding the missing brothers, anyone with information can call the Clinton County Sheriff's Office at 816-632-8477 or the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 573-526-6178.
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