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Grandpa Who Dropped Toddler From Cruise Ship Breaks Silence

Salvatore Anello says he thought there was glass in front of granddaughter
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 8:39 AM CST

(Newser) – For the first time, an Indiana man accused of negligent homicide after his 18-month-old granddaughter fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is speaking publicly. In an interview with CBS News, Salvatore Anello recalls to David Begnaud what happened on that July day in Puerto Rico, when, according to his account, he was holding little Chloe Wiegand up to knock on a window on the Freedom of the Seas, as they often did at hockey games. Except the window was open, and Chloe fell out of Anello's grasp, plummeting more than 10 stories. In video seen by CBS, which will be used as evidence at Anello's criminal trial, he can be seen hoisting Chloe up and apparently over the railing in front of what he says he thought was a closed window. A few seconds later, Chloe falls. "I saw her fall, I saw her fall the whole way down," he tells Begnaud. "I was just in disbelief."

He adds, "For a while I was in shock, I was just standing there. And then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass. I thought there was glass." He says he's been told that the fact that he's colorblind may have led him to believe there was glass in front of Chloe. In a July interview, Chloe's mother told Today that Anello has been "very, very distraught" since the incident. "You can barely look at him without him crying," Kimberly Weigand said. "She was his best friend." The Weigands think the cruise ship is responsible for their daughter's death and are planning to file a lawsuit by the end of the year. Anello, who's due back in court Dec. 17, could face three years behind bars if convicted. He says he doesn't care what happens in his legal proceedings: "Chloe being gone is the worst thing ever. ... There's nothing worse that they could do to me than what's already happened." (Read more Royal Caribbean stories.)

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