Valparaiso man describes granddaughter’s fatal plunge from cruise ship

An Indiana man charged with negligent homicide in his granddaughter’s fatal plunge from a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico insists he didn’t realize an 11th-floor window was open before the 18-month-old fell.

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 5:36 PM

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana man charged with negligent homicide in his granddaughter’s fatal plunge from a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico insists he didn’t realize an 11th-floor window was open before the 18-month-old fell.

Salvatore Anello told “CBS This Morning” that Chloe Wiegand fell to her death in July after he lifted her to a window on the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas so she could bang on the glass as she did at hockey games.

The 51-year-old Valparaiso man said he was trying to stand her on the window’s railing when she plunged from the open window to the dock far below.

He said that “it happened in seconds.”

“I saw her fall. I saw her fall the whole way down. I saw her fall, and I was just in disbelief. I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass there,” Anello said in an interview that aired Tuesday.

Sobbing as he recalled the events leading up to the child’s deadly fall, he said he’s colorblind and that may be why he didn’t realize the tinted window was open.

“I just never saw it. I’ve been told that that’s a reason it might have happened,” he said, referring to the eyesight condition.

Anello was charged with negligent homicide last month in Chloe’s death.

Puerto Rico’s attorney general and other officials said in a news release announcing the charge that Anello had “negligently exposed the child to the abyss through a window on the 11th floor of the cruise ship,” The Indianapolis Star reported.

An attorney for the Wiegand family, Michael Winkleman, has called Chloe’s death “a tragic accident,” and said that the family, who is from the northern Indiana community of Granger, plans to file a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean.

Winkleman has said that Chloe had wanted to bang on the glass “like she always did at her older brother’s hockey games” the family attended.

But he said the window was inexplicably left open in a children’s play area.

Anello’s attorney, José G. Pérez Ortiz, told The Star that surveillance video of the incident is consistent with the grandfather’s assertion that he believed the window was closed.

“My client thought that the window was closed,” Ortiz said. “Nothing in the video is inconsistent.”

Prosecutors delivered that video and other evidence to the defense last week, Ortiz said.

Anello is scheduled to appear Dec. 17 in court in Puerto Rico.

Anello said that he initially blamed himself for his granddaughter’s death, but now believes the cruise line should have had a sign posted warning that windows in the area where she fell could be open.

If there was such a sign, he said, “this wouldn’t have happened.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
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Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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