Grandfather faces negligent homicide charge after toddler’s deadly fall from cruise ship window

Chloe Wiegand

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — 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 girl fell when he raised her up to an open window.

An attorney for the family has said Chloe Wiegand asked her grandfather to lift her up so she could bang on the glass in a children’s play area. He blamed the cruise ship company for leaving the window inexplicably open.

The family is from Indiana and was aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.

Anello is being held on $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 20.

Michael Winkleman at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A., who represents the family in an upcoming civil suit, issued this statement:

“These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family.  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.

“Also Royal Caribbean has still not given us the opportunity to view surveillance video they have of the incident. We intend to file a lawsuit very shortly”

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story we reported Chloe was 2-years-old when she died, but she was actually 18-months-old.

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