CALDWELL COUNTY, Missouri (WBAY) - Human remains have been discovered on a Missouri farm at the center of the search for two missing Wisconsin brothers.
Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference on the deaths of Nick and Justin Diemel. The Shawano County brothers disappeared July 21 after visiting a farm in the small community of Braymer, Missouri. The Diemels owned a livestock business that required travel to other states.
Sheriff Fish says the remains were discovered Tuesday, July 30. They have not yet been identified. Law enforcement is working with forensic experts to find out if these remains belong to the Diemel brothers.
"Investigators were assisted by a frontier forensic anthropologist who has identified that human remains have been located at the search area in Braymer, Missouri," Sheriff Fish said. "Cause of death has not been determined."
The farm property in Braymer belongs to Garland "Joey" Nelson. The 25-year-old Missouri man made his initial appearance before a judge Monday morning in connection to the disappearance of the Diemel brothers.
Nelson is charged with Tampering With a Vehicle in Caldwell County, Missouri. A probable cause statement says Nelson admitted to driving Nick Diemel's rental truck on the day of the disappearance.
Nelson is being held without bond at this time. A bond hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. Action 2 News will update this developing story.
Another development Wednesday afternoon involves the Diemel's livestock business. Court records show Nick Diemel's wife, Lisa, filed a procedural petition to be named special administrator of the estates of Nick and Justin. The estate includes Diemel's Livestock out of Bonduel. The court records filed in Shawano County show July 21 as the date of death for both Nick and Justin.
Sheriff Fish stressed Wednesday that the case remains an active investigation. Local, state, federal and out-of-state agencies continue to work on the case.
Fish would not say where or how the remains were discovered.
"Investigators are still working with frontier forensic doctors to determine what took place," says Fish.
The Nelson farm is about 74 acres, but it's not the only property investigators have been searching, Sheriff Fish wouldn't identify those other places.
Asked if they think the brothers were killed on the farm, Fish said, "That's what investigators are trying to find out."
Sheriff Fish described Nelson as cooperative, but he also said Nelson has a history of misleading police. Nelson served two years in federal prison for fraud after selling cattle that didn't belong to him.
"He has been in previous investigations, federally. That stuff plays an important role in continuing on any further crimes," Sheriff Fish said.
The probable cause statement obtained by Action 2 News says Nelson admitted driving Nick Diemel's rental vehicle from his Braymer home and parking it in a commuter lot on Interstate 35 and Highway PP in Holt. Holt is about 40 miles southwest of Braymer.
Here's the timeline, according to the probable cause statement:
GPS information shows the Diemel's rented 2019 F250 Ford truck left a hotel in Cameron, Mo., at about 8:49 on the morning of July 21. They traveled east on Highway 36. At about 9:26 a.m., the rental truck pulls into Joey Nelson's driveway on Catawba Road in Braymer.
At 11:44 a.m., the rental truck leaves Joey Nelson's property.
At 12:18 p.m., the truck is recorded on a security camera at Casey's General Store in Polo. The truck is driving south on Highway 13. Security camera video shows no passenger in the front seat.
At 12:19 p.m., the rental truck is captured on security camera of a Hy-Klas Foods. It's going west on Highway 116. Again, video shows no passenger in the front seat of the truck.
At 12:45 p.m., the truck pulls into the commuter lot at Highway PP and I-35 in Holt. The truck was left running with the keys in the ignition and the lights on. The probable cause statement says Nelson admitted to leaving it there.
"Based on my investigation, I believed Mr. Nelson drove the 2019 Ford F-250 rental truck without the consent of the renter N. Diemel's permission or the Rental companies [sic] permission," reads the probable cause statement.
Multiple agencies, including other sheriff's offices, are helping the small sheriff's departments in Clinton and Caldwell counties. "We are going to get tired, but we are here for the long haul," Fish said.
Nick Diemel, 35, and Justin Diemel. 24, were co-owners of Diemel's Livestock LLC in Bonduel. They had traveled to Missouri for business. Joey Nelson was a known client of Diemel's Livestock.
Nelson served two years in federal prison for fraud. Federal court records say Nelson engaged in a scheme to sell more than 100 cattle he did not own and kept the money. He was ordered to pay more than $262,000 in restitution to multiple victims, including the USDA Farm Service Agency, individual farmers, and another cattle company that operates similar to the Diemels' livestock business. The Diemels were not named in that case.
Investigators have been "checking buildings, ponds, waste piles -- we're just looking anywhere we can to just find these brothers."
Sheriff Fish said last week investigators were at other locations in Clinton and Caldwell counties with search warrants. He did not discuss details but said, "There have always been multiple searches going on."
Diemel cousin Rob Krull and Diemel Livestock employee Rob Chupp traveled to Missouri to help with the search.
Chupp tells KMBC that he spoke with Nick and Justin at about 11 a.m. Sunday. They were at a farm, and on track to fly out of Kansas City at 1:50 p.m.
The family are pleading for tips and information.
"We need answers. Family needs answers. He's got four kids at home and a wife," Rob Chupp told KMBC.
"The littlest piece of information might actually be a big piece of information."
Nick Diemel's wife, Lisa, tells Action 2 News that farmers in Missouri and Indiana and other states raise cattle for Diemel's Livestock. Nick regularly travels as part of his business.
"I think we’re just trying to remain optimistic, they’re going to find them and they’re coming home," said Lisa.
On July 20, Nick and Justin flew from Milwaukee to Kansas City. They were due to return home on Sunday, July 21.
Lisa says she last spoke with Nick at 8:55 a.m. Sunday. She says the men were about to travel to a client's farm to discuss business. Lisa says the client has had previous business with Nick Diemel.
Neither Nick or Justin answered texts or phone calls since that 8:55 a.m. conversation.
"I call him every morning, I call him every night, I send a Facebook message, I text him, his phone doesn’t go to voicemail, Justin's goes right to voicemail, so I feel like maybe they can ping something off of social media," said Lisa.
Later, the Diemel's rental truck was found at the park-and-ride in Holt. Nick and Justin were not in the black Ford F250 four-door truck.
“Nick is a father of four kids. He's my high school sweetheart. Him not contacting us... we didn't go for long when he was on trips to check on me or talk to our children,” Lisa Diemel tells Action 2 News.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Clinton County Sheriff's Office at 816-632-8477.
A benefit fund is set up for the Diemel family at Community First Credit Union. Donors can send checks to this address:
Community First Credit Union
P.O Box 1487
Appleton WI 54912-1487
Make checks payable to "Diemel Brothers Benefit."
NICK DIEMEL DESCRIPTION
Weight: 210 pounds
JUSTIN DIEMEL DESCRIPTION
Weight: 200 pounds