Chloe Weigand’s Grandfather, Salvatore Anell, Pleads Guilty in Her Tragic Death After Months-Long Cruise Ship Investigation

by San Eli News

Salvatore Anello, the grandfather of the 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand who fell to her death from an open window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, reveals he will plead guilty to end the nightmare that is affecting his family.

“I took a plea deal today to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible,” Salvatore Anello stated on Tuesday, shortly after a family attorney announced the grandfather’s intention to change his plea.

Anello, also known as Sam, initially pleaded not guilty to a negligent homicide charge in from Puerto Rican authorities back in October regarding the death of Chloe in July.

Grandfather Salvatore Anell of 18-Month-Old Chloe Wiegand Who Died From Falling Off Cruise Ship, Pleads Guilty
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RELATED: Cruise Ship Says Video Proves Salvatore Anello Knew Window Was Open Before Granddaughter Chloe Wiegand Fell

The attorney for the Wiegand family, Michael Winkleman, revealed to NBC News on Tuesday that Anello filed paperwork to change his plea in return for an agreement that included no jail time.

Anello will be able to serve his probation in the state of Indiana, as he lives in South Bend, according to Winkleman.

Winkleman shared how the deal “is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe.”

Grandfather Salvatore Anell of 18-Month-Old Chloe Wiegand Who Died From Falling Off Cruise Ship, Pleads Guilty
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RELATED: Chloe Wiegand’s Family Speaks Out for the First Time About Her Tragic Death Aboard Cruise Ship

Anello also took a moment to thank his family for sticking by him.

“The support they continue to give me has been beyond overwhelming and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for them,” adding how justice for Chloe should include focusing on safety measures on the cruise ship from which the toddler fell, Freedom of the Seas.

“We need to make sure nothing like this will ever happen to another precious baby, or anyone else for that matter, ever again,” Anello said.

Grandfather Salvatore Anell of 18-Month-Old Chloe Wiegand Who Died From Falling Off Cruise Ship, Pleads Guilty
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RELATED: Grandfather of Toddler Chloe Wiegand Who Plummeted to Her Death While on a Cruise Is Charged with Negligent Manslaughter

A hearing date for the change of plea is yet to be determined.

In December, the Wiegand family filed a federal civil action against Royal Caribbean Cruises, alleging that the company was at fault for the accident. And after Royal Caribbean sought to block it, a judge approved the suit this month.

Chloe was with her mom on the 11th-floor deck in a children’s water park area when her mother had to tend to another matter. It was then Anello came to supervise her, according to the family’s lawsuit.

Grandfather Salvatore Anell of 18-Month-Old Chloe Wiegand Who Died From Falling Off Cruise Ship, Pleads Guilty
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RELATED: Grandpa Charged in Granddaughter Chloe Weigand’s Death Speaks Out for the First Time; Video of Incident Entered Into Evidence

“Mr. Anello was closely supervising Chloe as she played,” the suit says. When “Chloe walked over to a nearby wall of glass on the same deck,” her grandfather followed her.

The family alleges Anello put Chloe up to the window to bang on the glass when she slipped from his hands through the window, which ultimately led to her death from the ship’s 11th story.

Anello continues to insist that he believed that the window was enclosed by glass despite it being open.

Grandfather Salvatore Anell of 18-Month-Old Chloe Wiegand Who Died From Falling Off Cruise Ship, Pleads Guilty
Image via YouTube

RELATED: Chloe Wiegand’s Family Announces Decision to Sue Royal Caribbean Daughter’s Tragic Death

“In my experience, any elevated public place I’ve been with that much glass has always been a protective barrier,” he said in his statement. “From my point of view, at the moment the accident happened, it was as if this wall of protective glass disappeared. I was in complete disbelief. It was a nightmare of the likes I could never have imagined before.”

He continued, adding: “I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t dangling her out of a window. I just wanted to knock on the glass with her as we did together so many times before. I was just so horribly wrong about our surroundings.”

Anello says failing to keep Chloe safe is a “constant nightmare” that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

RELATED: Chloe Wiegand’s Grandpa Offered Plea Deal with No Jail Time, Attorney’s Don’t Know Yet If They’ll Accept It

Back in November, he informed CBS there were no signs indicating the windows were open. He also stated he is colorblind, which may have been why he had trouble distinguishing between the tinted closed windows and the open window.

Kim and Alan Wiegand, Chloe’s parents, spoke on “TODAY” after her death last summer how they hoped to bring awareness to make sure an accident of Chloe’s nature doesn’t happen to another family.

“We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship,” Kim Wiegand said. “There are a million things that could’ve been done to make that safer.”