SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - An attorney for the IN family of an 18-month-old girl who fell to her death from a cruise ship IN July said Puerto Rican prosecutors' decision to charge her grandfather with negligent homicide is "pouring salt" on the family's wounds.
Salvatore Anello was playing with the girl, Chloe Wiegand, on the 11th floor near a window while the ship was docked in Puerto Rico.
But one window in the children's play area was open, and Chloe fell out of Anello's arms from the 11th story of the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean International. He's blamed the cruise ship operator for leaving the window open.
Attorney Michael Winkleman said in a statement that the child's death was "a tragic accident", and that the family, who is from the northern in community of Granger, will be filing a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean "very soon".
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Anello is being held on bond at $80,000 and is next scheduled to appear in court on November 20, according to the Associated Press.
So, the family alleged, when Chloe threw herself against what Anello thought was glass, her continued momentum pulled her from her grandfather's grasp.
Royal Caribbean previously released a statement about the girl's death. The girl was used to banging on the glass at her older sibling's hockey games.
Chloe was traveling with her father, Alan Wiegand, who is a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, as well as her mother, Kimberly Wiegand, her siblings and both sets of grandparents. Her grandfather Salvatore Anello had been holding her when she fell onto the concrete below. "I mean, we've all had that experience where someone walks into a glass sliding door thinking it's not there". Winkleman said that Chloe's grandfather was unaware that it was open. "[Chloe] was his best friend".
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"I just kept saying, 'Take me to my baby".
"I didn't know that she went out a window", she added.
Winkleman said: "I think Royal Caribbean needs to answer these questions: Why would you ever in a kid's play area put windows that passengers can open?"
"I mean you can barely look at him without him crying".
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