Remains found in Caldwell County and Nebraska identified as murdered Wisconsin brothers

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Nick and Justin Diemel (Courtesy of Lisa Diemel)

CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. (WDAF) — Officials in Caldwell County say they have finally recovered and identified the remains of the two Wisconsin brothers who disappeared months ago north of the metro.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says Nicholas Diemel’s remains were found on a farm in Caldwell County. Justin Diemel’s remains were found in a livestock trailer in Lincoln County, Nebraska.

Nick and Justin Diemel (Courtesy of Lisa Diemel)

The agency said dental records confirmed their identities.

That Caldwell County farm belongs to Garland “Joey” Nelson. The 25-year-old is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the brothers’ deaths.

He remains jailed in Caldwell County with no bond. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 9.

He’s also charged with two counts of abandonment of a corpse, two counts of tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution, two counts of armed criminal action, one count of first-degree tampering with a  motor vehicle and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Picture of Garland Joseph "Joey" Nelson
Mugshot of Garland Joseph “Joey” Nelson – photo from Caldwell County

Earlier this week, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said a rancher in Hershey, Nebraska, reported he found human remains in a stock trailer he recently purchased in Missouri.

When deputies arrived, they found a large plastic animal supplement tub full of dirt. The rancher said he found the tub in the large stock trailer he just purchased.

He took the tub out of the trailer to spread the dirt in his driveway and saw what he believed was human remains and other items in the tub.

Deputies confirmed the remains were definitely human and noticed personal items in the tub, saying the remains could belong to either of the Diemel brothers. The remains were taken back to Caldwell County.

The Diemels, from Shawano County, Wisconsin, were on a trip related to their cattle business when they disappeared in July after visiting Nelson.

According to court documents, the Diemels traveled to Caldwell County to get payment of $250,000 from Nelson for the sale of cattle. Nelson admitted to investigators that he was paid to feed and sell cattle for the Diemels.

Court documents say that Nelson intentionally killed the brothers with a .30-30 rifle on his farm near Braymer. A neighbor reported hearing multiple gunshots coming from Nelson’s property on the day the brothers were reported missing.

Nelson then abandoned the Diemels’ rented truck at a commuter lot near Holt, Missouri, court documents state. Nelson admitted to taking the brothers’ cell phones and throwing them away along the roadway.

Court documents say each brother’s body was initially placed inside a 55-gallon metal barrel in a pole barn on Nelson’s property.

Prosecutors allege that Nelson then moved the bodies with a skid loader bucket to a pasture nearby, where he set the remains on fire with diesel fuel.

After the bodies were burned, court documents say Nelson hid the remains in a manure pile. Nelson also allegedly tried to get rid of the barrels by crushing them.

Court documents say a bloodstain found on Nelson’s clothing has been confirmed to be from Nicholas Diemel, according to DNA testing. That same piece of clothing contained a spent .30-30 caliber cartridge.

Nelson admitted to detectives that he had firearms, which, as a convicted felon, he is prohibited from possessing. Nelson was on federal probation at the time of this crime for a previous federal crime committed in 2016.

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