Salvatore Anello and Chloe Wiegand
Salvatore Anello and Chloe Wiegand

Grandfather who dropped toddler to her death from cruise ship balcony sentenced

The grandfather who was charged over the death of his 18-month-old granddaughter who fell off the balcony of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has been sentenced to three years of probation.

According to Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice, Salvatore “Sam” Anello pleaded guilty to negligent homicide last year after his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, fell through an 11-story open window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2019. Chloe plunged 45 metres to her death.

Mr Anello had initially pleaded not guilty, but February 2020, he said he changed to his plea to guilty so the family could move on from the tragic accident.

His lawyer Michael Winkleman said Mr Anello will serve his probation in his home state of Indiana after the tragic death of his granddaughter.

He accepted a plea deal to serve no jail time after earlier pleading not guilty to the charges of negligent homicide.

Chloe and Mr Anello were in the children’s waterpark area of the pool’s 11th deck. Mr Anello was asked to look after her when her mother had to tend to another matter.

Mr Anello said in court, that Chloe had walked over to a nearby glass wall and he put the little girl up to the window so she could bang on the glass. But Chloe slipped from his hands and fell through the open window.

The family filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean alleging that the cruise line was at fault for Chloe’s death.

Mr Anello has repeatedly said he did not know the window was open.

According to court documents, Royal Caribbean said there was “no hidden danger” and that Mr Anello “knew the window was open”.

Royal Caribbean released images in court to prove Mr Anello had leaned out of the window and therefore knew it was open.

The cruise line claimed in court documents that Mr Anello only had to use his “basic senses” to realise this sand said the footage they released shows the grandfather leaning thorough the window just before he lifted Chloe onto the ledge.