Love and support from across US bolsters Diemel family

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Although more than 10 years separated the brothers, friends and family say the two were extremely close.

Long before hunting season opened, Nick Diemel and his younger brother, Justin, could be found out in the woods, setting up new stands, checking trail cameras and always on the lookout for that perfect hunting spot.

Although more than 10 years separated the brothers, friends and family say the two were extremely close, not only while wearing blaze orange, but running their cattle dealership business Diemel's Livestock, a venture they started about four years ago.

"As business partners, they both had separate roles that made the business run smoothly," said Justin's long-time girlfriend Taylor Moeller. "They could work with each other all day long and as soon as Justin walked in the door at night, they would already be calling each other!"

Ironically the two brothers lost their lives together when they traveled to Garland Nelson's property near Braymer, Missouri, in July to collect a $250,000 check for cattle that were in the Missouri man's care. 

RELATED: Missouri man charges in the murder of two Wisconsin brothers

Nick, 35, and Justin, 24, were scheduled to board a flight from Kansas City to Milwaukee on July 21 but never got on the plane. Three months later, Moeller and Nick Diemel's wife, Lisa, received word that the human remains found on the farm belonged to their loved ones.

According to court documents, Garland allegedly shot and killed the Diemels' and buried their bodies on the farm. Nelson, 25, is charged in the double murder and could face the death penalty.

Despite having confirmation of her worst fears, Lisa Diemel wrote in a post on her Facebook page that the family will never have closure.

Also grieving the loss of their father are Nick and Lisa Diemel's children, ages 18 months, 3, 12 and 17.

"Maybe it's just the finality, reading what happened and not just hearing the horrific details of what this monster did to you and Justin," she said. "There will never be closure for this senseless, deliberate loss of life. For everyone who loves you both, justice will never be served."

Nick is also survived by his four children, ages 18 months, 3, 12 and 17.

Support grows

In the long, agonizing weeks since the brothers first disappeared, friends, family, and community members as well as strangers across the United States began reaching out to the Diemel family and Moeller on social media and at community events, offering support and prayers.

While Jennifer Halvorson had been an administrator on Facebook pages for missing persons including Jayme Closs,  when Halvorson first learned of the disappearance of the Diemel brothers, she was struck by the similarities with her own family.

Jennifer Halvorson

"My husband owns a farm raising baby calves and I'm an RN like Lisa Diemel. And we both have big families, with Lisa and Nick having four children and I have five," she said. 

Halvorson reached out to Lisa Diemel and family and created the Facebook page Prayers for Nick Diemel and Justin Diemel. Since she launched the page, over 38,000 people have asked to join the page.

"People in the farming community stick together, and the sites I administer are focused on prayer and support only and are a place where the family can feel safe to go to as well," Halvorson said. "The Diemels are like family to me."

Both Lisa Diemel and Moeller have been overwhelmed and grateful for the support and kindness of strangers from as far away as Texas and Florida to Maine and Colorado. Many of those following the page hail from Missouri where the Diemel brothers died.

"I don't know you but I do not live far at all from Braymer. And to think this went on in our backyard!" posted Jenny Grace of Missouri. "There are no words, but anger. Apologies for the suffering you've had thrust on you from our state. My heart breaks daily for you."

Dreams unfulfilled

Moeller said her heart breaks too for all the dreams that will go unfulfilled with the loss of her soulmate.

Justin Diemel's long-time girlfriend Taylor Moeller says Justin had big dreams but would most want to be remembered as being kind and humble.

"He had big dreams and would have reached above and beyond them if he had had more time," Moeller said. "He was so successful for being so young, but not once did you ever hear him brag or ask for recognition for his accomplishments."

Instead, Moeller said Justin was humble and kind, someone who would drop anything to help someone out.

"He would race home if I locked myself out of the house no matter how busy he was. And he was the first person others would call to come pull them out of a ditch in a storm," Moeller said. "He was always generous and never complained."

Close-knit community

A small town in Shawano County with a population of just over 400 people, Navarino is a close-knit community that has come together to support the Diemels, finding ways to help the family financially and spiritually.

Over the past three months, local organizations and churches spearheaded fundraisers and prayer services to help the community heal and to help benefit the family.

Community members have put together a benefit for Nick and Lisa Diemel's four children. The event is set for Saturday, Nov. 9 at Romy's Nitingale, W5670 County A, Black Creek, Wis. The event is set to begin at 4 p.m. and will feature a live auction, 50/50 bucket raffles and live music from 8 to midnight.

"The outpouring of support for the Diemel family has been humbling. People are wearing T-shirts, hats and bracelets and are eager to help support these fundraisers," Halvorson said. "A loss of a parent at any age is difficult but to lose them at this young age and in this manner is devastating. The least we can do to honor Nick and Justin is to help support the children."

Moeller says the outpouring of support from friends, family and those she has never met has been amazing.

"There's so many good people out in the world and I can't thank them enough for always keeping everyone involved in this situation in their thoughts and prayers," Moeller said.

No closure

Lisa Diemel says Nick was her high school sweetheart, best friend and the best father to their children.

"He has always been a part of me and I'm lost without him," she posted on her Facebook page. "We're so grateful for everyone who has shown support during this impossible time. This is a nightmare we're gonna live the rest of our lives."

Halvorson said the process of healing is long and slow.

"This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon and people can continue to support the family by keeping them in their prayers and following on Facebook for updates," she said. "This family will never truly have closure or justice....but years from now they will still benefit from a caring message."

Want to help?

Anyone wishing to help the Diemel family can send a check made out to: "The Benefit of Nick and Lisa Diemel's Children" and send it to:

Community First Credit Union

PO Box 1487

Appleton, WI 54912