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Update: Subject of manhunt faces criminal charges

Rocco Diberardino

Rocco Diberardino was returned to Hudson Monday to face five criminal charges in connection with his alleged assault of his estranged wife.

The Thursday morning, Sept. 16, incident led to a police manhunt and the issuing of an Amber Alert for the couple's two missing sons.

The 45-year-old Diberardino was arrested later Thursday in Hastings, Minn. He waived extradition on Monday and was brought to the St. Croix County Jail.

Diberardino has been charged with felony counts of false imprisonment, possession of a firearm in violation of a court order and interfering with his wife's child custody rights.

He also faces misdemeanor counts of battery and violating a restraining order.

Diberardino remained in jail on Monday after Judge Eric J. Lundell set his bail at $100,000.

According to the criminal complaint, Diberardino came to his wife's townhouse at 2307 Rosemary Curve in the Bieneman Farm neighborhood at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Kelly Diberardino told police he caught her by surprise and proceeded to pull her hair, knock her to the floor and sit on her to keep her from leaving.

She eventually escaped and called police.

Diberardino reportedly told investigators that he planned to kill himself in front of his wife for all the pain she had caused him.

Kelly Diberardino had filed for divorce on Aug. 25 and obtained a court order on Sept. 7 prohibiting Diberardino from contacting her, except in text and e-mail messages regarding their two sons, ages 10 and 12.

The order also prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

Diberardino fled the Rosemary Curve townhouse after his wife called the police. It is believed that he escaped the neighborhood in his pickup truck before Hudson police and St. Croix County sheriff's deputies set up a perimeter around it.

The search intensified when authorities learned that the boys weren't in school that day. Diberardino reportedly had his sons with him legally Wednesday evening, but was supposed to have returned them to his wife's residence.

They were found in a Stillwater, Minn., motel at about 4 p.m. after an Amber Alert for missing children was issued.

The complaint says police found a loaded .40-caliber Beretta handgun in the Rosemary Curve townhouse that Diberardino is accused of having in his possession.

His current address is listed as 520 Perch Lake Road.

The criminal complaint says he told investigators that he took the children to a motel because he didn't have a TV and could smoke there.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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