The grandfather of a baby who fell from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July has been arrested and charged with negligent homicide in Puerto Rico.
According to ABCNews.com, 51-year-old Salvatore Anello was arrested and placed in jail with an $80,000 bond Monday, but the money was posted and he was released. The Puerto Rico Department of Justice said the grandfather’s preliminary hearing is set for November 20.
Anello was on a cruise ship with his family on July 7 when he placed his 18-month-old granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows. When the baby went to tap on the glass, she fell through an open window.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene a short time later and transported the child to a local hospital, but doctors pronounced the little girl dead. Freedom of the Seas was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the time of the accident.
In response, attorney Michael Winkleman said Anello and his family maintain the cruise line is at fault for the death and are waiting for Royal Caribbean to provide closed-circuit TV footage of the incident.
“These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,” Winkleman told ABC News. “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,” Winkleman continued. “Really for them, this is really about Chloe. It’s not about anything else other than Chloe – it’s all about raising awareness so that a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.”
While Royal Caribbean officials have deferred all questions to the local authorities, the Fraternal Order of Police in South Bend, where Wiegand’s father is a police officer, has stepped in to help the family.
In addition to raising money to pay for Chloe’s funeral, the group is donating any additional money raised for the legal defense of Anello.
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