Missouri man linked to missing Shawano County brothers denied bond as search continues
CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. - Missouri investigators and search crews still have not found two Wisconsin brothers who went missing during a business trip over a week ago.
Police continue to investigate the disappearances of Shawano County brothers Nicholas Diemel, 34, and Justin Diemel, 24, who own Diemel's Livestock in Navarino and routinely travel to meet with farmers. The two were last heard from on July 21.
Authorities on Friday shifted the case from a search and rescue to a death investigation. Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said Monday that police haven't found either brother. He declined to say what prompted the change in the investigation, aside from the discovery of an abandoned rental truck used by the Diemels.
"It’s going to be long term," Fish said. "It’s going to take some time."
Also Monday, 25-year-old Garland Joseph Nelson appeared in court after being charged with vehicle tampering in connection with the case. Police said he admitted driving and abandoning the truck after they visited his Braymer, Missouri, farm for a business deal.
The deal had been "going on for a few months," Fish said Monday.
"During that transaction, we do not know what exactly occurred yet," he said.
Nelson appeared in court remotely, where a judge upheld the decision to deny him bond, according to online court records. He is jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center.
A bond hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Nelson on July 21 drove the brothers' rental vehicle from his Braymer property to a commuter lot in Holt, Missouri, off of Interstate 35, where police found the truck running the next day. Nelson's 74-acre farm is about 65 miles northeast of Kansas City and 35 miles from Holt.
July 21 is also the last day Nicholas' wife, Lisa Diemel, said she heard from him. The brothers had been scheduled to board a flight from Kansas City to Milwaukee but never got on the plane.
The rental vehicle's black box indicated the brothers left a hotel in Cameron, Missouri, that morning and drove to Nelson's Catawba Road address, where Nelson conducts farming operations. The truck left the home roughly two hours later and was spotted by cameras in multiple locations with no apparent passenger in the front seat. The vehicle pulled into the commuter lot shortly before 1 p.m and was left running with the lights on.
Investigators are still working to determine how Nelson left the commuter lot, Fish said.
A past in federal prison
In 2016, Nelson was convicted in federal court of cattle fraud and sentenced to two years in prison. According to a 2016 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Nelson scammed his victims out of more than $262,000.
"I didn't commit a crime," Nelson said during an Iowa Public Television program last year. "I didn't go out and rob a bank or anything like that. I broke a contract."
However, Nelson's criminal history doesn't end there. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to two misdemeanor counts of passing a bad check. A judge that year also granted someone's protection order against him barring him from abusing or stalking the person.
Reporter Natalie Brophy of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin contributed to this report.
Contact Haley BeMiller at (920) 431-8212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @haleybemiller.