Nicholas and Justin Diemel, missing since July 21, operated a cattle business in the rural community of Bonduel, Wisc.
“They started coming in about five years ago,” said Chris Jacobs, market manager of Equity Cooperative in Bonduel. “They bought a lot of calves each week and were a relatively bigger player in the calf business.”
The Diemel brothers were order buyers for dairy calves and were also feeding calves themselves in Indiana and Missouri, Jacobs said. Jacobs said the brothers had previously worked in construction with their father.
“They were typically buying calves that were three to five days old, both beef crossbreds and straight dairy calves,” Jacobs said. “They have been pretty successful since they started.”
The family is working to continue the brothers’ business, and many are stepping up to help, Jacobs said.
“In the week right after they went missing, no one came to the sale,” Jacobs said. “However, their younger brother Brandon is back buying calves now just like they were before the tragedy.”
Other family members are assisting with bookwork and day-to-day chores, Jacobs said. The Wis. State Farmer reports Lisa Diemel, whose husband Nicholas has been missing since July 21, filed a petition to manage the brothers’ business.
As details in the case unfold, a Kansas farmer also involved with raising dairy calves has come forward, KCTV News 5 reports.
David Foster of Fort Scott, Kan., told KCTV News 5 he entered into several business deals with Garland Joseph Nelson, who is charged with tampering with the Diemel brothers’ rental vehicle and is currently held without bond. Foster said Nelson agreed to purchase and raise the calves, with Foster and Nelson agreeing to split the profit.
“It came time to be due for them to be weaned and sold and he was coming up with all these excuses and stories as to why he hadn't sold them,” Foster told KCTV News 5.
KCTV News 5 reports Foster reached out to others who had done business with Nelson, including the Diemel brothers. Nicholas and Justin Diemel had a separate business deal with Nelson, KCTV News 5 reports, and told Foster they also were not satisfied.
As Foster reflects on his own interactions with Nelson, he wonders what could have happened.
“It’s pretty simple,” Foster told KCTV News 5. “It could have been me. Because I could have been in that position.”
Chris Jacobs said for the community of Bonduel, Wisc., where the Diemel’s cattle business is based, the loss has been hard. Jacobs estimates Bonduel has only between 1,200 and 1500 people and primarily consists of smaller dairies at a time when the agriculture industry is changing.[BB1]
“It’s always been a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone,” Jacobs said.
Nicholas and Justin Diemel were an encouragement to Jacobs in an aging agriculture industry and were always very polite, Jacobs added.
“You’re not seeing a lot of younger people getting into the cattle business,” Jacobs said. “They were very cordial. They’d come up to the counter, always with a ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ They were very good, people-oriented people.”
The brothers’ absence has left a hole in the rural community, who is rallying to support the family, Jacobs said.
“The men here all sit in the ring and bid against each other, but it’s still a tight-knit community,” Jacobs said. “There is a lot of support in the agriculture industry. Every community group they’ve ever been in is doing fundraisers.”
One man close to the family designed a special brand and created embroidered patches, hats, and shirts to fundraise for the family, Jacobs said. The Navarino Rangers, a local baseball team, has also contributed proceeds from games, Jacobs added.
“I hope authorities get to the bottom of whatever happened,” Jacobs said.