Friday, 16th of September, finally witnessed a closure in the case of Chloe Wiegand as her grandfather pleaded guilty on Thursday to negligent homicide. Chloe Wiegand, an 18-month-old toddler from Granger, Indiana, was on a cruise with her family when she lost her life aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship as she fell from an open window from the cruise ship.
The ship was docked in Puerto Rico at the time of the incident, on July 7, 2019. Chloe died after falling from the 11th floor and landing on the hard, concrete surface of the Pan American dock. She was playing with her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, in the children’s H2O Zone children’s water park when Anello lost grip of her and she fell from an open window. Anello said he lifted the girl up at her request while they were in the play area and Chloe slipped from his grip and her death was an accident and nowhere intentional.
Although Anello initially pleaded not guilty to a negligent homicide charge, he changed his mind. He claimed wanted to plead guilty so his family could get closure and begin mourning the loss of the child.
The Wiegand family’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, said that the pleading guilty would mean “no jail time and no admission of facts.” Winkleman added, “Because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling from windows.”
Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kim Wiegand, are still pursuing a federal lawsuit against the Royal Caribbean, claiming the cruise line acted negligently and that it failed to place a sign that could have warned others that the window was open.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, too, filed a motion in response in January. The cruise line presented with video evidence showed that the footage showed Anello leaning over the ledge at the window and looking out before he picked his granddaughter up and held her by it. Within minutes, Anello lost his grasp and Chloe fell which caused her death.
The fact that Anello leaned over the ledge of the window first knew very well that the window was open, hence, if there was anybody at fault for the death of Chloe Wiegand, it would be Anello because he in his full consciousness, knowing that the window was open lifter up Chloe over the open window.