Grandfather charged in death of granddaughter who fell from cruise ship
A grandfather who police say dropped his young granddaughter from the 11th floor of a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico in July has been accused of negligent homicide. A judge on Monday ordered the arrest of Salvatore Anello after prosecutors submitted evidence and said the 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand fell when he raised her up to an open window.
The child was traveling with her father, a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, as well as her mother, siblings and both sets of grandparents on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Wiegand family, said that the tragedy occurred after Chloe asked her grandfather to lift her up so she could bang on the glass in a children's play area.
"Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers' hockey games," he 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."
Winkleman blamed the cruise ship company for leaving the window inexplicably open.
"How about a warning, how about a sign, how about something?" he said at 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."
Wiegand's mother Kimberly previously told NBC's "Today" that "I never want another mother to have to experience this or to see what I had to see or to scream how I had to scream."
"I didn't know that she went out a window," she added. "And I just kept saying, 'Take me to my baby. Where's my baby?' I didn't even notice a window. I ran over there and I looked over and it wasn't water down there, it was concrete. To lose our baby this way is just unfathomable."
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told CBS News at the time the company is deeply saddened by the "tragic accident" and its "heart goes out to the family."
Anello is being held on $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court November 20.
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