A Missouri farmer has been accused of killing two brothers who vanished after they visited his farm during a work trip, authorities said.
Garland Joseph Nelson, 25, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Nicholas and Justin Diemel, Caldwell County Sheriff Jerry Galloway told reporters Wednesday.
Nicholas Diemel, 35, and Justin Diemel, 24, were reported missing in July after they missed a flight to Milwaukee. The brothers, owners of a livestock company, were in Missouri for a cattle deal.
Nelson was also charged with two counts each of armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse, tampering with a motor vehicle and a count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
The murder charge carries a possible sentence of “life imprisonment without parole or death,” Galloway said.
Nelson has been in custody since early August when he was charged with tampering with a vehicle after a truck rented by the brothers was found in a commuter lot and Nelson admitted driving it there.
The brothers’ remains were found days later on Nelson’s farm, authorities said.
Online court records did not list an attorney for Nelson.
Suspect previously committed fraud
Nelson is no stranger to authorities. He’s been the subject of previous investigations, including a federal one, Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said.
“That stuff plays an important role,” he said.
In 2015, when Nelson was 21 years old, he pleaded guilty to a cattle fraud scheme that resulted in losses of nearly $300,000 for the victims, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri.
Nelson’s three-part fraud scheme included loan fraud, livestock sales and insurance fraud, the attorney’s office said.
A year later, Nelson was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $262,450 to the victims.