Salvatore Anello Indiana grandfather charged with granddaughter Chloe Wiegand’s death after falling out Royal Caribbean window.
The grandfather of the 18-month-old toddler who fell out a Royal Caribbean cruise ship window during the Indiana family’s trip in July has been arrested.
San Juan prosecutors charged Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello of Valparaiso on Monday with negligent homicide in the death of Chloe Rae Margaret Wiegand. The girl’s death follows the maternal grandfather raising the girl to an open window of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Freedom of the Seas’ July 17, only for her to plunge to her death.
Investigators say Chloe Wiegand died after falling from the ship’s 11th floor to the concrete on the Pan American dock II in San Juan below, NBC New York reports.
A lawyer for the family claimed Chloe asking her grandfather to lift her up so she could bang on the window of a children’s play area — that had been slid open, unbeknownst to him.
‘Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers’ hockey games,’ attorney Michael Winkleman said in a July statement.
‘Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant.’
Monday on TODAY: @savannahguthrie’s exclusive interview with the parents of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand – the toddler who died earlier this month after falling out of a window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. pic.twitter.com/J2JZQFOLg9
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 19, 2019
Who bears negligence for Chloe Wiegand’s death?
‘These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,’ Winkleman told via a press release. ‘Clearly, this was a tragic accident, and the family’s singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again. Had the cruise lines simply followed proper safety guidelines for windows, this accident likely would never have happened.’
Parents Alan and Kimberly Wiegand have said they don’t blame Anello for the tragedy, instead laying blame on the the cruise line who they described as negligent for leaving the window ‘inexplicably open’.
‘We obviously blame them,’ Kimberly, a former St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor, told NBC’s “Today” show earlier this year.
‘We have a lot of questions. Why is there an open window in the kids’ area 11 stories up?’ she asked.
‘How about a warning, how about a sign, how about something?’ the family demanded during a July press conference. ‘When you put it in a kids’ play area, you gotta do something to let people know that these can be opened so things like this don’t happen.’
The cruise line is alleged to have told the family the window was open for ventilation.
Kimberly said Anello was ‘extremely hysterical’ after the incident and that ‘at no point has [he] ever put our kids in danger.’
‘You can barely look at him without him crying,’ she said of the South Bend, IT worker. ‘[Chloe] was his best friend.’
Anello is being held on $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 20. AP reports.
Falling off a cruise ship is very rare. It’s estimated that over 28 million people went on a cruise last year. According to a website that tracks people falling off them, since 2000, only around 340 people have gone overboard.
The family plans to file a civil suit against the cruise liner.