‘He’s the scum of the earth’: Family of 2 Wisconsin brothers killed in Missouri shares story of heartbreaking loss

Nick and Justin Diemel's family speaks out

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — One year after two brothers died while visiting a Missouri farm, their family is sharing their story of heartbreak and loss.

In July 2019, Nick and Justin Diemel disappeared on a trip to Braymer, Missouri, to collect a debt from a local rancher, Garland Joseph Nelson.

Nelson is now on trial for murder, accused of killing the two brothers, abandoning their rental truck off the interstate and attempting to destroy and hide their remains. Charging documents revealed he owed the Diemels more than $250,000.

Nelson’s trial has been postponed this summer due to concerns in the courts over COVID-19. Miles away, in the brother’s home near Navarino, Wisconsin, their family has watched the delays with a growing frustration.

Pam Diemel, the mother of the two men, and Lisa Diemel, who was married to Nick Diemel, said the deaths of the two cattlemen still feels fresh. The two agreed to an interview with KCTV5 one year after the deaths of the brothers, their first since the incident.

“It’s devastating,” Pam Diemel said. “Our hearts are shattered.”

They said the two brothers had built a livestock trading company from the bottom. They had grown it into a multi-state operation with tens of thousands of cattle. In the months leading up to their deaths, they’d partnered with Nelson, who had agreed to feed hundreds on his farm near Braymer.

Nelson had previously pleaded guilty in 2015 in a cattle fraud scheme and served two years in prison. But the Diemels said the two brothers were unaware of the conviction.

“I think [Nelson] did a good job of bluffing Nick, becoming his friend,” Lisa Diemel said.

As KCTV5 News reported in the months following the brothers’ deaths, Nelson had mismanaged hundreds of cattle, including the Diemels.

At the time an Amish farmer said Nelson had rented land from him, allowing dozens to starve to death on his property. Nelson eventually dumped dozens more sick and emaciated cattle on a farm near Ft. Scott, Kansas.

“[Nelson] isn’t a farmer. He’s an animal abuser, a system abuser,” Lisa Diemel said. “He’s the scum of the earth.”

Court documents state that Nick and Justin Diemel had come to Nelson’s farm in person after he had written them a bad check. Eventually they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Nelson’s mother, Tommie Feil, and the family’s company, J4S Enterprises. They settled the lawsuit for $2 million in May.

The Diemels also told KCTV5 they have filed a complaint with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt against Caldwell County Sheriff Jerry Galloway for his handling of the investigation. Galloway, who lost an August primary election to Republican challenger Mitch Allen, did not respond to KCTV5’s multiple requests for comment.

To add to the Diemel family’s pain, they said the courts have not released the brothers’ remains, which means they have not held a burial.

“I think there’s a step in mourning that comes with that, that we’re missing,” Lisa Diemel said. “Nick and Justin deserve a proper burial.”

To the Diemel family, the deaths of Nick and Justin Diemel could have been prevented. They said the brothers had no idea what they were walking into.

“They were the best kids in the world,” Pam Diemel said.