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Grandfather Charged in Toddler's Cruise Ship Death

Salvatore Anello faces manslaughter charge in girl's fall through open window
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2019 6:28 AM CDT
Updated Oct 29, 2019 6:37 AM CDT
This May 11, 2006 file photo shows the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship docked in Bayonne, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)

(Newser) – The grandfather who'd been holding a toddler before she fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July is facing a new heartbreak: charges of negligent manslaughter. Prosecutors in Puerto Rico say Salvatore Anello "negligently exposed" 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, who fell through an open window on the 11th floor of the Freedom of the Seas as the ship was docked in San Juan, per CNN. Port Authority officials previously said Anello put his granddaughter in the window in the kids water zone before losing his balance. However, the family claimed Anello had lifted Chloe onto a railing behind what he believed to be a closed window in a wall full of windows, so that she could bang on the glass.

The criminal charges filed Monday are "pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family," says attorney Michael Winkleman. He's preparing a civil suit against Royal Caribbean, which he claims has not allowed the family to view surveillance footage of the incident, per CNN. "Had the cruise lines simply followed proper safety guidelines for windows, this accident likely would never have happened," Winkleman adds, per BuzzFeed. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said only that it was "deeply saddened" by the incident and had "assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries." Anello, from Indiana, is reportedly held on $80,000 bond. A court hearing is set for Nov. 20. (Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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