TV report: Missing Wisconsin brothers tied to deal that went bad between Kansas farmer, man in custody
A Kansas farmer told a television news station in a story published Wednesday that he had a recent business dispute with the man linked to the presumed deaths of two Wisconsin brothers, and their deal involved about 100 calves from the brothers' livestock company.
In phone conversations the farmer said he secretly recorded, Garland "Joey" Nelson threatened to harm someone or himself over the strain of the deal, and said he didn't know what to do "short of pulling a gun on somebody and hoping I don't go to jail," according to audio captured in part of the video from KCTV5.
Nick Diemel, 34, and Justin Diemel, 24, of Shawano County were reported missing after they missed their July 21 flight to return to Wisconsin from a business trip in Clinton and Caldwell counties in Missouri. The brothers own Diemel Livestock in Navarino.
Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said July 31 that human remains were found on the farm operated by Nelson, 25, who was charged with tampering with a pickup truck the brothers rented for their travels in Missouri.
David Foster, who runs farms in Bourbon County, Kansas, told the TV station he had a deal with Nelson in which Foster would buy cattle and Nelson would raise them until they were ready to be sold. One hundred of the cows involved in the venture were from Diemel Livestock, according to receipts from the sale displayed in the KCTV5 report.
According to Foster's statement to the TV news crew, the deal went sour late 2018 so Foster started secretly recording his phone calls with Nelson.
"It came time to be due for them (the calves) to be weaned and sold and he was coming up with all these excuses and stories as to why he hasn't sold them," Foster told KCTV5.
Parts of the recordings are inaudible, but in one of the conversations, Nelson mentioned Justin Diemel, saying he told Justin "we owe you a f--- ton of money."
In another, he mentions the "guys from Wisconsin I'm trying to be nice to because I know they are going to lose everything they own."
Foster said in the TV interview that he planned to meet Nelson in person, but Nelson dropped off 35 of the 131 cattle at Foster's dairy farm. The cows included "multiple emaciated and thin calves," according to a USDA report cited by KCTV5.
Foster said he does not know what happened to the rest of the cows. After he stopped talking to Nelson, he found out the Diemels had a separate deal with Nelson.
"It could've been me, because I could've been in that position," Foster told the station. "I have four kids."
Nelson is expected to appear in court Thursday for a bond hearing. He's being held on a felony charge of tampering with a vehicle. He's accused of driving Nick Diemel's rental truck to a commuter lot and abandoning it the same day the brothers were last heard from.