LEECHBURG (KDKA) — The wife of Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold talked to KDKA for the first time since her husband was arrested for trying to meet with a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Danielle Diebold says the man she married barely six months ago is not the same person who was arrested in an undercover sting on Friday. She says she had no idea what he was allegedly doing online.
Michael, the father of her 9-month-old son, is sitting in jail, going from hero to accused child sex offender. Danielle says she saw nothing, knew nothing about her husband’s actions and now doesn’t know what she will do to recover.
Anywhere you look in the Diebold home, there are images of family — Mike, Danielle and their baby. Danielle says all of that is shattered.
“My whole world is just turned upside down,” she said. “I honestly don’t know how I’m ever going to be the same.”
Michael was getting ready to go back to work. His uniform is on the wall in their home. It was hanging there when Attorney General SWAT agents raided the house Friday.
“I’m devastated. I’m humiliated,” she said. “I feel like I’m dealing with two different people. There’s this man who we’re grieving for that we love and has died and is never coming back. On the other hand, you’re dealing with someone who committed a horrible crime.”
Just a few weeks ago, KDKA’s Marty Griffin spoke to Michael at his home about his son, Kyle, his recovery from an explosion that took his arm and about the community that raised tens of thousands of dollars to help him.
Danielle feels horrible about that and reached out to Marty so she could apologize to anyone who will listen.
“He didn’t just destroy his life. He destroyed ours. And he destroyed a lot of people in the community’s lives who came to bat for him. He didn’t just hurt himself. He hurt all of us, you know,” she said.
For Danielle, what’s next?
“I’m really have to find a way to move on with my life,” she said. “I don’t know how to do that right now, but I… it has to happen. I have to. I have a son now who doesn’t have a father.”
Tens of thousands of dollars were raised for Michael’s recovery. There has been concern in the last few days that money may be used for his bail and criminal defense. Danielle says there is no way that would ever happen.
“The money is completely 100 percent frozen. Nothing can come in and out of there,” she said, “and it’s going to stay that way for a long, long time.”
In the meantime, Danielle is just trying to breathe.
“I never thought in a million years this would be my life. I never thought it,” she said. “I just feel like my life’s over, too, you know?”
Michael is in jail with his bond set at $500,000. Sources say Michael claims he was set up and he didn’t do this. Investigators say there is extensive evidence, including pictures, tying Michael to this case.