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Family holds out hope for missing Wisconsin brothers

Posted at 9:57 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 23:45:37-04

There was a tragic turn Friday in the search for two Wisconsin brothers who vanished during a business trip to Missouri. They're now believed dead, and an arrest was made in the case.

Investigators have been sifting through dirt at a farm in Braymer, Missouri, about an hour northeast of Kansas City.

Meanwhile, in Shawano County, Wisconsin, family and friends of 35-year-old Nick Diemel and his 24-year-old brother Justin are praying for a miracle.

"He texted me Sunday morning that they were on their way to meet an individual that they had already made an agreement to meet with," said Nick's wife, Lisa. "After that, I have not heard from him since."

They missed their flight home later that day.

The brothers' cousins and a coworker drove to Missouri to help find them.

"Nick and I have four kids," Lisa said. "He is the backbone of this family. Our oldest two children understand the seriousness of this. The youngest two just miss their dad. They cry for him and ask where he is."

The brothers own a livestock company and travel throughout the Midwest to visit farms where they have cattle being raised, including the farm now at the center of this search-turned-death investigation.

That farm is tied to a man who went to prison for cattle fraud. Garland "Joey" Nelson, 25, who lives on the property, has been charged with stealing the brothers' rental truck.

The truck's GPS and some local surveillance video confirms the brothers drove to the farm Sunday morning. But, hours later, it was Nelson who was spotted alone in the truck. Police said he drove it to a remote commuter lot, where he left it, with the lights on and engine running.

"He is the backbone of this family. Our oldest two children understand the seriousness of this. The youngest two just miss their dad. They cry for him and ask where he is." — Lisa Diemel, whose husband is missing

According to court documents, investigators believe Nelson is "a danger to the community" and "has tried to mislead law enforcement." But still, where the brothers are, and what exactly happened to them, remains a mystery.

"We're checking buildings, ponds, waste piles, everywhere we can, to find these brothers," said a lead investigator.