EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The girlfriend of Debra Wollner who was arrested in connection with the Aleah Beckerle case talked exclusively with us on Friday.
"We are a tight family! And we love Aleah! And God, I really really really wish that this had never happened," said Donna Robertson, Aleah's cousin, and girlfriend of Wollner.
Debra Wollner made her first court appearance on Friday and Donna Robertson was there to hear Wollner's arraignment.
Police say a video leaked of 51-year-old Debra Wollner allegedly holding a man against his will. Police say Wollner beat the victim for hours with a metal pipe, then forced him to make a false confession in Aleah's disappearance. Police also noted that at least two other people were involved in this assault.
During Wollner's court hearing, the judge said Robertson and or Wollner possessed a deadly weapon that was used in this assault of the victim.
Robertson told us she was shocked to hear her alleged involvement in this assault.
"I wasn't there. I wasn't part of anything like that," said Robertson. "My part in this is to search for Aleah. This is just to search for Aleah. You know, that's my cousin and I'm searching for her-to bring her home. And this is totally...blew me out of the water. I'm totally shocked now even more because my name was mentioned!"
Debra Wollner was hysterical during her arraignment. While hearing her charges, Wollner repeatedly shook her head, breaking down in tears. Wollner told the judge, "I don't understand what those charges mean," and said, "I'm innocent."
Wollner's long list of charges includes conspiracy to commit criminal confinement and confinement armed with a deadly weapon. Overall Wollner is facing eight counts of felonies and is being held on a $20,000 bond.
"I do not want people to get distracted on this and to not stop searching for Aleah," said Robertson. "I want everyone to stop thinking this family is any less than they were before this happened."