TV report: Farmer says man tied to missing Wisconsin brothers starved more than 100 cattle
BRAYMER, Mo. - A farmer told a Kansas City, Missouri, TV news station that the man tied to the two missing brothers from Wisconsin starved more than 100 cattle that he kept on the farmer's land.
Nick Diemel, 34, and Justin Diemel, 24, of Shawano County were reported missing after they didn't make their July 21 flight to return to Wisconsin from a business trip in Clinton and Caldwell counties in Missouri. The brothers own Diemel's Livestock in Navarino.
Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said July 31 that human remains were found on the farm operated by Garland Joseph Nelson, 25, who was charged with tampering with a pickup truck the brothers rented for their travels in Missouri.
The farmer, John Gingrich, told KCTV5 in a story published Wednesday that Nelson rented his land to take care of around 100 calves. He knew that Nelson had been convicted of cattle fraud but thought Nelson seemed like an ordinary cattleman, KCTV5 News reported.
But months before the brothers disappeared, Gingrich became worried about overcrowding and food for the calves when Nelson brought more than 300 animals to his property, KCTV5 reported.
“Two bales of straw and two bales of silage for 312 head wasn't even close to enough,” Gingrich told KCTV5 News.
He also saw that Nelson wasn't removing the plastic net wrap from the bales and saw cattle eating the plastic, the station reported. A few cattle died each day, Gingrich said.
Gingrich decided not to call the police because he did not want to give Nelson more problems, but KCTV5 News could not confirm if Nelson owned all the dying cattle.
Nelson left about 170 dead cattle and many that were too sick to walk to Gingrich, according to the station.
Gingrich hired a contractor, who asked KCTV5 News to remain anonymous out of fear of Nelson, to help him move the dead cattle from his land.
“It was a disaster. It was a nightmare,” the contractor told KCTV5 News. “Every time I'd grab the cattle with the grapple they'd just fall to pieces and the stomach would fall to pieces. Plastic wrap was everywhere inside the cattle. Netting was everywhere.”
Gingrich did not allow KCTV5 News to take images or videos of him due to his Amish faith but allowed the station to record his voice because he thought what happened wasn't right, according to the KCTV5 News story.
Gingrich told Nelson's family about the neglected cattle and said Nelson confronted him.
“Joey went off the rocker,” Gingrich told KCTV5 News. “The air was thick with his cussing.”
When Gingrich heard about the brothers' disappearance, he thought “the look in Joey's eyes that day convinced me that Joey could hurt somebody," KCTV5 reported.
Nelson is expected to appear Thursday in Caldwell County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to to move the case to trial. Nelson is being held in jail without bond.