It was such a tragic story! A grandfather held his baby granddaughter out of a cruise ship window and she fell and died. Now the grandfather is pleading guilty, in a bid for his family to find peace.
Salvatore Anello was charged after dropping 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand out a cruise ship window. The baby fell 45m to her death while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The grandfather has this week, pleaded guilty to the charges of negligent homicide, as reported in news.com.au.
Mr. Anello had been responsible for looking after his granddaughter on 7 July 2019, during a family holiday on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas.
He picked Chloe up so she could bang on the glass of the window just as she did at her brother’s hockey games. Sadly, the toddler then fell through the open window. The awful footage was later leaked.
While the family was opposed to Mr Anello facing charges, family lawyer Michael Winkleman said in a statement that the plea will allow the family to move on, as reported on NBC.
Close This Chapter
“It was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter,” Mr Winkleman said.
Mr Anello originally pleaded not guilty in July last year, and he rejected a plea deal late last year.
However, he has now changed his plea to guilty, saying he would do whatever is necessary to end the nightmare for the family.
End This Nightmare
“I took a plea deal to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible,” he said in a statement.
“The support they continue to give me has been beyond overwhelming and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for them.”
The plea deal means that Mr Anello will not have to go to jail. Instead, he will serve probation in his home in Indiana.
The grandfather will be sentenced on 10 December, as reported on NBC.
Was The Cruise Ship Company At Fault?
Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand are still pursuing their law suit against Royal Caribbean for unlimited damages.
“We will continue the fight for justice for Chloe and to hold Royal Caribbean accountable for its brazen failure to follow the standards designed precisely to prevent children from falling out of windows.” their family lawyer said.
Royal Caribbean has maintained that tinted handles on the windows would have indicated that it was open.
Mr Anello said he is colour blind and as a result did not see that the window was open.
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