BRAYMER, Mo. (KCTV) — The man facing charges in connection with the missing Diemel brothers is now suspected of starving more than 150 cattle to death.
Local 5’s Missouri affiliate, KCTV, says an Amish farmer in the area witnessed dozens of cattle in Garland Nelson’s care die over the winter.
The farmer, John Gingrich, reportedly heard Nelson was looking for land to rent for around 100 calves.
Gingrich also heard Nelson had previously served jail time for cattle fraud, but noted Nelson seemed like an ordinary cattleman.
Gingrich told KCTV, “The offer [Nelson] had was reasonable as far as paying and all that. We decided well we’ve got some room here.”
The two then verbally agreed on terms, and Nelson delivered cattle to Gingrich’s property. Gingrich says things took a turn when Nelson kept coming back – eventually hauling more than 300 animals to the rented ground.
KCTV reports Gingrich became worried about overcrowding problems and grew concerned about whether the cattle would have enough to eat.
Gingrich also said he noticed that Nelson wasn’t removing the plastic net wrap that held the bales intact. He remembered watching the hungry cattle eating the plastic with the hay.
Gingrich says the cattle started dying nearly every day.
He reportedly did not call police because he did not want to cause Nelson additional problems and assumed the cattle belonged to Nelson.
Eventually, Gingrich says Nelson hauled off the animals that could stand on their own and left around 170 dead cattle on Gingrich’s property. Several cattle that were too sick to walk, were also left.
KCTV5 News also found one of the contractors Gingrich hired to move the cattle to a pit on his property. The skid steer operator requested his name not be published out of fear of Nelson. He described the job as the worst he’s ever had.
“It was a disaster. It was a nightmare,” the contractor said.
“[Nelson’s] not capable of handling cattle. Never,” Gingrich said. “He should never again handle cattle in my opinion.”
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Nelson is set to appear in court Thursday in connection with tampering with the Diemel’s rental vehicle.