The grandfather of the 18-month-old girl who fell to her death while on a cruise ship is speaking out for the first time. Salvatore Anello is the maternal grandfather of Chloe Wiegand.
What Happened to Little Chloe
As Mamas Uncut previously reported, Anello was holding Chloe up to a window on the 11th floor of the cruise ship where his family was vacationing on July 8. The grandfather said he believed the windows that were lining the wall of the ship were closed when his granddaughter went to tap it with her hands.
However, because one of the windows was open, Anello lost his grip on Chloe and she continued to fall onto the deck 11 stories below her. The family’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, explained to Today:
“Essentially her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it’s clear, but it turns out there was no glass there. She goes to bang on the glass, like she would have at one of those hockey rinks, and the next thing you know, she’s gone.”
Anello’s First Public Statement
After his first court appearance since being charged in his granddaughter’s death on November 20, Anello spoke publicly to NBC News off-camera.
He told NBC reporter Kerry Sanders, “They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened.” José G. Pérez Ortiz, who is also representing Anello, went on to add that Chloe’s death was a horrible accident, but not a crime.
He also told the Indy Star that he believes security footage of the incident will prove just that. “What I saw with the video, it’s pretty consistent with what my client has told me. My client thought that the window was closed. Nothing in the video is inconsistent.”
CBS News was able to watch the video and described what they saw in a newscast. Listen to what they had to say below:
The video will not be made public, the Indy Star reports. Ortiz said, “This is a family that has suffered and will continue to suffer for years. This scar will be with them for the rest of their lives.”
Four months after Chloe’s passing, Anello was arrested and charged with negligent manslaughter on October 28. The arrest and charges come after his family made statements saying they didn’t want to see Anello charged with his granddaughter’s death.
Winkleman said, “These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family. Clearly this was a tragic accident and the family’s singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again…”
Chloe’s mother, Kimberly Wiegand, said in an interview of her own that she does not blame her father for Chloe’s passing. She said she firmly believes Chloe’s death was an accident and that her father is extremely remorseful.
“(He’s) very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying. She was his best friend.” Anello is due to be back in court on December 17.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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