Farmer charged in connection with Wisconsin brothers death investigation already spent time in prison

Officials gave a brief update on the Wisconsin brothers’ case Monday afternoon. Rewatch the news conference in the video player above. 

BRAYMER, Mo. — The man arrested in connection to the death investigation of two missing Wisconsin brothers has already spent time in the Leavenworth Penitentiary, according to court documents.

Garland “Joey” Nelson started his farming operation raising cattle in 2013 when he was just 19 years old, Iowa Public Television first reported.

He had a government loan to buy and raise cattle, but he quickly became overwhelmed with a massive inventory shipped to him from Cyclone Cattle Company.

“Everything works until you run out of grass, or feed, or money,” Nelson told IPTV. “We ran out of grass first. So, you know, you went to feeding more and then the feed bills get bigger than the bill they want to pay….Then you run out of money.”

Nelson’s debt grew to nearly $300,000. To off-put the unexpected cost of his operation, he sold some of his own cattle without notifying the Farm Service Agency, a requirement when livestock is tied to federal farm loans. He also didn’t ask the farms buying his cattle to list the agency on the checks.

Data pix.

Court documents also suggest that Nelson deliberately hid the sales by having checks written out using a different version of his name than is on his FSA loans.

He said he knew he was violating the rules, but he did it anyway. He said he hoped to avoid months of delay that might follow a request to the federal government.

Before Nelson knew it, he was standing before a federal judge in Kansas City, being sentenced to two years in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. He ended up serving 13 months of his original sentence.

"They let you out early if you got a drug case because you’ve got a problem," Nelson said.  "I’ve got an addiction too, I guess. Gambling: a gambling addiction to playing farming. And you know, they didn’t offer me a treatment course for that.”

Nelson was released in March of 2018. IPTV reports he was farming with his mother by December that year, who has had an operation for decades.

Two Wisconsin brothers go missing, Nelson arrested

Nelson was recently arrested on charges in connection to a murder investigation involving Nick and Justin Diemel, two brothers who own Diemel's Livestock LLC in Wisconsin. Not much is known about Nelson between the time of the IPTV report and current charges.

The brothers were in Missouri visiting farms on July 20 and 21. Nick's wife, Lisa, said the last thing she knew, the brothers were going to visit another farm and then get on a plane in Kansas City back to Wisconsin. They never made it.

Officials found the brothers' rental truck in a commuter lot in Holt, Missouri. Surveillance cameras and the truck's black box show Nelson drove the truck from his property to the commuter lot, leaving the headlights on and the key in the ignition, according to a press release.

Nelson has been charged with tampering with a motor vehicle, a first-degree felony.

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