KINGSTON—The mother of a Missouri farmer charged with tampering with a truck used by two missing Wisconsin brothers said they came to the farm to look at cattle but that she can’t see her son being involved in their deaths.
Tomme Feil told The Kansas City Star that the two men—Nicholas Diemel, 35, and his 24-year-old brother Justin—came to look at calves owned by the family.
Feil said she has no idea why her son, Garland Nelson, would have moved their vehicle.
“I wish I knew the truth,” Feil said. “But I don’t.”
The brothers were reported missing July 21 and are presumed dead. Law enforcement found human remains on the farm that have not yet been identified, Clinton County Sheriff Larry Fish said.
Nelson is accused of driving the rental truck from the farm near Braymer that the brothers visited during a business trip for their cattle operation in Wisconsin. The truck was found abandoned and running.
Nelson admitted to moving the brothers’ truck from his mother’s farm to a commuter lot in Holt, according to court documents.
BREAKING: Caldwell County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Garland Joseph Nelson, 25, with tampering with a motor vehicle.
— Andres Gutierrez (@AFGutierrez) July 26, 2019
He appeared in court Thursday and will remain in jail without bond. The Kansas City Star reported Nelson said he has an attorney, who was not in the courtroom.
Feil told the newspaper that she returned home July 21 from a trip to Branson with the rest of the family to find police speaking to her son. She said she wouldn’t know if he got mixed up in something he shouldn’t have, but she’s hoping for “it all to go away.”
She said her son is hardworking and cares about family.
Feil said church friends and neighbors in the small town have shown her support but that she has received harassment and threats as police investigate the brothers’ deaths. She said she turned off all her social media accounts.
Feil is staying in her home but can’t venture out to do farm work because of the active investigation. Law enforcement are doing her chores and feeding her cattle.
“I have nothing to be guilty for,” Feil said. “But a lot of times you’re guilty by association. This is not my character, not my family’s.”
Nelson has been the subject of previous investigations, including a federal one, Fish 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 U.S. 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.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.