Salvatore Anello, a grandfather from Indiana, has been charged with negligent homicide after he dropped his 18-month-old granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, from the opened window of a docked Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and the toddler fell 150 feet to her death. The tragedy took place on 7th July in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Since the fatal accident occurred while the cruise ship was docked in Puerto Rico, the maternal grandfather of the late toddler, Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello, was detained by Puerto Rican authorities in October after an arrest warrant was issued and consequently charged by local prosecutors.
In case he is convicted, Anello will receive a sentence of up to three years in prison because, according to Puerto Rican law, negligent homicide brings the same penalty as a fourth-degree felony.
The 51-year-old man spoke about what happened during a TV interview, and he insisted that the unfortunate event was an accident.
Anello also shared that back at the time, he could not believe what he was seeing, and he just stood there in disbelief while he watched how the little girl was falling through the air.
The grieving grandfather continued his story by recalling that his first memories after the tragedy occurred were him screaming that he thought there was glass over and over again, apparently believing that the window was closed.
Anello explained how he was feeling by saying: “It seems like it’s all not real. She’s such a beautiful little girl. Perfect little girl”.
He added: “I remember trying to find her on the floor and then I saw her fall, I saw her fall, I saw her fall and I was just in disbelief. And I was like ‘Oh my God.’ And I think for a while I was in shock and I was just standing there. And then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass. I thought there was glass. I still say it to myself, it’s just, I kind of relive it all the time and I just thought there was glass there. I don’t know what else to tell you.”
The grandad also blamed a health condition for what happened. Anello revealed: “I’m colorblind. I don’t know. I just never saw it. … I’ve been told that that’s a reason that it might have happened. I thought there was glass,” he continued. “I still say it to myself, it’s just, I kind of relive it all the time, and I just thought there was glass there. I don’t know what else to tell you.”
The parents of Chloe, Kimberly and Alan Wiegand have expressed their support for Anello and so far have blamed Royal Caribbean for their loss.
They told the Today show: “We obviously blame them,” Kimberly Wiegand said in an interview that aired during the summer. “There are a million things that could have been done to make that safer.
The cruise line reacted via a statement and revealed: “We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family.”
Some commenters say prosecution was not necessary, but others claim if the family did not blame Royal Caribbean, things might have been different.