Man charged in Diemel brothers murder case appears before judge
A Missouri man appeared before a judge Thursday on charges he murdered two Shawano County brothers and hid their remains on his farm.
Garland "Joey" Nelson appeared via phone from a Missouri jail. He waived his formal arraignment and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 14. That's when a judge will determine if there's enough evidence for the case to move forward to trial.
Nelson is being held without bond.
Nick's widow, Lisa Diemel, made a public statement on Facebook that reads in part:
Action 2 News will continue to follow court updates on this developing story.
Officials in Caldwell County, Missouri, held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce new charges against Nelson.
An affidavit obtained by Action 2 News shows Nelson has been charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder; two counts of Abandonment of a Corpse; Tampering with Physical Evidence; Felon in Possession of a Firearm; Armed Criminal Action; and Tampering with a Motor Vehicle.
The charges come three months after the July 21 disappearance of brothers Nick and Justin Diemel. The Diemel brothers' last known location was Nelson's sprawling farm on Catawba Road in Braymer, Missouri. The brothers owned Diemel Livestock in Bonduel, Wisconsin, and did business with Nelson. Nelson would feed and sell cattle for the Diemels.
On July 21, the Diemels rented a truck and traveled to the Nelson farm. They were due to return home to Shawano County that day. Nick and Justin were never seen again.
"Based on the investigation, it is believed Nick and Justin Diemel never left the property after they arrived and were intentionally killed. It is believed Garland Joseph Nelson acted alone or in concert with others in committing the act of murder against both Nick and Justin Diemel," reads the affidavit.
The affidavit says at 11:45 a.m., Nelson drove the Diemel brothers' rental vehicle from his Braymer farm to a park-and-ride in Holt, Missouri. Nelson stated that he left the keys in the ignition and removed the Diemel brothers' cell phones and tossed them along the roadway. He arranged for someone to pick him up and take him back to the farm.
The affidavit says Nelson "found and observed two bodies he believed were Nick and Justin Diemel dead, each inside of a 55 gallon metal barrel located in the pole barn south of the residence."
"The bodies were then each moved through the pasture by carrying them one at a time in a skid loader bucket to an adjacent pasture located to the northwest of the residence where the bodies were burnt by an unknown liquid and diesel fuel being poured over them and ignited."
On July 30, human remains were discovered in a manure pile on Nelson's 74-acre farm. Based on DNA comparisons, those remains are believed to be Nick and Justin Diemel.
According to the affidavit, Nelson said the burned remains were placed into a manure pile located near a metal barn. He told investigators that he used the skid loader to crush the burn barrels and dispose of them. He then used a shovel to clean up blood in the barn.
A blood stain on Nelson's clothing was a DNA match for Nick Diemel, according to the affidavit.
A neighbor described hearing the sound of multiple gunshots coming from the direction of the Nelson farm at about 11:15-to-11:30 on the morning of July 21. That's the time Nelson admitted that the Diemels were on the property prior to Nelson driving their rental vehicle to Holt.
A fired 30-30 caliber cartridge was found in Nelson's clothing.
30-30 caliber ammunition was found in Nelson's vehicle. Nelson was in possession of a 30-30 caliber rifle.
A shovel Nelson said he used to clean up blood in the barn was also located.
Nelson was arrested on a vehicle tampering charge following the Diemels' disappearance. He's been held without bond since his arrest.
Nelson is facing separate charges in Bourbon County, Kansas, related to treatment of livestock. The charge is Endangering the food supply; Bring domestic animal infected with disease.
Action 2 News spoke with farmer David Foster, owner of Cash Cow Enterprises in Fort Scott, Kansas. Foster said Nelson raised cattle for him. As the business deal soured, the cattle were returned to Foster in poor condition.
"Mine were returned, they were malnourished, starved, I mean skin and bone," says Foster. "I had to help pick the calves up off the ground, onto the trailer, just so I could move them off my property."
Foster says he spoke with Nick Diemel several times and they shared frustrations about business dealings with Nelson.
Nelson previously spent two years in federal prison for fraud.