Grandfather Charged in Toddler's Fatal Fall From 11-story Cruise Ship Window
A man has been charged with negligent homicide after his 18-month-old granddaughter fell out of the 11th story window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July.
The Puerto Rican Justice Department issued an order for Salvatore Anello’s arrest on Monday, according to CNN.
"These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family," Michael Winkleman at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A., who is representing the family in a planned civil suit, said in a statement. "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."
A statement from the family released in July said that 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand wanted to “bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers' hockey games. Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant."
Chloe was traveling with two siblings, her parents and both sets of grandparents aboard the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas. The boat docked in Puerto Rico after a weeklong itinerary through the Caribbean.
Chloe’s mother, Kimberly Wiegand, has defended Anello in interviews, saying, “(He's) very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying. She was his best friend."
The family is crusading for stricter safety measures aboard cruise ships. Wiegand said in an interview with Today, "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."
"We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family," Royal Caribbean's Melissa Charbonneau said in an email to USA Today.
Anello is being held on an $80,000 bail with a scheduled court appearance on Nov. 20.