Who is Garland Joseph Nelson, the suspect in the disappearance of two Wisconsin men?
While court documents will never tell the whole story, Nelson has a collection of criminal convictions, civil protection orders and lawsuits in his past. He’s currently being held in the Caldwell County Jail after a court hearing Thursday continued his case for a week.
In January 2015, Caldwell County Judge Jason Kanoy issued an ex-parte order of protection against Nelson, barring him from having contact with a woman he was residing with at the time. Kanoy is the same judge who sat on the bench for Nelson’s first two court hearings in the missing brothers’ case.
News-Press NOW is not naming the woman listed in the order. According to the document, Nelson was not to come within 360 feet of the alleged victim. On March 4, 2015, a final order was issued that meant Nelson could no longer reside at an address in Hamilton, Missouri.
Nelson was convicted in federal court for fraud after illegally selling cows in 2013 and 2014. According to the federal indictment, Nelson tried to sell cows that were under his care to graze but that he did not own. The indictment also said he sold cows that were mortgaged by the Farm Service Agency.
“Defendant Nelson further made false statements to Farm Bureau Insurance for the purpose of collecting insurance proceeds on cattle he had insured,” the indictment said.
In an August visit to the Nelson farm, a government official, “observed one cow and several items of equipment whose ownership interest appeared to be in question,” the indictment said.
According to the document, Nelson sometimes did business as “Joey Nelson.” Police have been searching his farm on Catawba Road for more than a week. On Tuesday, police discovered unidentified human remains.
One company, listed as a victim in the indictment, sent farmhands to check on some cows on Nelson’s property. According to the document, those farmhands found the cows to be in poor shape.
“They found emaciated cows, not properly fed, roaming around together,” the indictment said. “They also found cows that had died with the identification tags cut out, which concealed who the dead cows belonged to.”
Ultimately, Nelson was sentenced to two years in prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
In June of 2015, Nelson was charged with six counts of passing bad checks on an account with Pony Express Bank. One person who the complaint said received a bounced check is the same person that filed the protection order against Nelson. Other alleged victims were a veterinary clinic and a restaurant.
Nelson was ultimately convicted on two of the six counts.
Court documents also show that Nelson has been in debt. One lawsuit, filed in October 2017, alleged that the Howard County Ambulance District did not receive more than $700 it was owed. As of August 2017, that debt had ballooned to almost $1,400.
At his Thursday court hearing, Nelson said he is being represented by Cameron based attorney Drew Davis. A receptionist at Davis’ law firm said he was handling other cases until next week and was unable to comment.