ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The last time Lisa Diemel heard from her husband, Nicholas, he told her that he and his brother Justin were heading out to a farm in northwest Missouri. It was the last day of their work trip and they had a meeting lined up to discuss a cattle business deal. Once that was over, they would be on a plane back home to Wisconsin.
Nicholas, 35, and Justin, 24, never made their flight on July 21. Numerous calls and texts to their phones went unanswered, and concerned family members quickly reported the men missing, according to WMTV in Madison, Wis. Searches were launched across two counties in Missouri as authorities scrambled to track down the brothers.
"We hope we can get a good resolution to this," Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said. "We really do."
But what began as a missing persons case is now a death investigation. Three days after the men were reported missing, Fish announced that human remains were found on a farm in Braymer, Mo., where the men had gone the day they went missing.
The remains, which were not immediately identified, were discovered on farmland used by Braymer resident Garland "Joey" Nelson. The 25-year-old was arrested July 29 after he admitted to driving the brothers' rented truck without permission from the farm to a commuter lot more than 30 miles away and abandoning it there, police said.
Nelson faces a first-degree felony charge of tampering with a motor vehicle. Other charges could be possible.
This is not Nelson's first encounter with law enforcement.
In 2015, he pleaded guilty to running a three-part cattle fraud scheme that resulted in his victims losing more than $260,000. As part of the scheme, Nelson sold nearly 650 cattle that belonged to other people. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole.
Fish said the investigation is still active, noting that authorities are working with forensic doctors to "determine what took place."
"Local, state, federal and out of state investigators are all working together to bring this case to a conclusion," he said.
According to WMTV, the Diemel brothers traveled from Milwaukee to Kansas City on July 20. The siblings own a livestock company and spent the weekend traveling around two counties in Missouri meeting with farmers.
They were due back in Milwaukee about 3:15 p.m. July 21, but they never arrived. The next day, the brothers' rental truck was found in the commuter lot still running with lights on and keys in the ignition, according to court records.
GPS data from the truck confirmed that Nicholas and Justin left their hotel shortly before 8:50 a.m. and drove roughly 30 minutes to the farm, the affidavit said. After about two hours, the truck left the farm, but surveillance footage showed that only one person was inside the vehicle. Police said the truck was later located where Nelson "admitted he left it."
Meanwhile, authorities continued to scour places the brothers had visited during their trip, including the 74-acre tract of land used by Nelson.
"We are checking for buildings, ponds, waste piles," Fish said at a July 25 news conference. "We're just looking everywhere we can to try and see if we can't find these brothers."
But the hopes of finding the Diemels unharmed were swiftly dashed when just a day later, the search became a death investigation.
In an interview with WTMJ-TV shortly after the men disappeared, Lisa Diemel described her husband as "the backbone of this family."
"Nick and I have four kids," she said. "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."