Arrest Made in Ongoing Cattle Theft and Animal Abuse Case
Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly announces that an arrest has been made in an ongoing
cattle theft and animal abuse case.
Greg L. DeJager, 35, Greenfield MO, was arrested in Lawrence County by the Missouri State
Highway Patrol Thursday, June 2nd on unrelated charges of Passing a Bad Check.
While DeJager was being held in the Lawrence County Jail, Felony Stealing and Animal
Neglect charges from Barry County were issued and DeJager is being held on those charges
also, in lieu of $10,000 bond.
The investigation began on May 22nd when DeJager reported over 50 head of cattle stolen
or missing from a farm he leased near Wheelerville in Barry County. DeJager had been
contracted to take care of the cattle by the owners, who live in Nebraska and were paying
DeJager a per head fee to care for the cattle. Detective Henry began looking into the case
and working with the owners of the cattle, determined that DeJager's story initially given to
the Sheriff's Office was not the truth. On May 26th, Detective Henry, along with Detectives
Terry Meek and Robert Evenson, served a search warrant on the property leased by DeJager
on Farm Road 2080 near Wheelerville. The property is approximately 800 acres. Sheriff's
Office personnel were assisted by the cattle owners as well as "Cowboys" on horseback.
DeJager was not present when the warrant was served. During the service of the warrant,
the remaining cattle were collected and loaded onto trucks and moved to a location where
they could be held and rehabilitated. The condition of the live cattle were horrible, with the
adult cows emaciated and starving. A veterinarian who was on the scene indicated that the
calves looked to be in good health generally, but the adult cattle were not being cared for
correctly, not being fed enough and were in poor health due to neglect. A total of 365 head
of Cows, calves and bulls were removed from the property and returned to their rightful
owner. It is believed that at least 125 head were still missing. During the service of the
search warrant, Detectives located at least 40 dead cattle in various stages of decomposition.
Some were in open wooded areas and others had been buried or partially buried by a bulldozer.
During the investigation, it was learned that DeJager had advertised in various online pages
and sites and offered his services to cattle owners to take care of their cattle for a fee.
Investigators believe that DeJager collected the fees and then did not properly take care of
the cattle. Investigators also believe that DeJager may have moved and/or sold off a number
of the cattle entrusted to his care and then reported them stolen to the legitimate owners.
DeJager is the first to be arrested in this scheme and additional arrests are expected as the
investigation progresses. Investigators also believe that persons and property involved in this
case are spread through Barry, Lawrence and Dade Counties, and may possibly be in an even