• U.S.
  • Puerto Rico

Grandfather Charged With ‘Negligent Homicide’ Over Toddler’s Cruise Ship Death

3 minute read

Officials in Puerto Rico have charged a man with negligent homicide in the death of his 18-month-old granddaughter after he allegedly dropped her out of a cruise ship window a cruise ship in July.

Salvatore Anello was on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship while it was docked at the Panamerican Pier II in San Juan on July 7, according to a statement from the Puerto Rico Department of Justice shared with TIME. He was with his 18-month-old granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, was with him in a child’s play area.

Anello then “exposed the child to the abyss through a window on the 11th floor,” the statement read. Judge Jimmy Sepulveda of the San Juan Investigation Court called for Anello’s arrest on Monday and set bail at $80,000. Anello turned himself in to officials the same day; his $80,000 bail was later posted and he was allowed to return to Indiana, where he resides, on Tuesday, according to a legal representative for the Wiegand family.

His next hearing is set for Nov. 29th.

“These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,” Michael Winkleman, an attorney representing Chloe’s parents in an upcoming civil suit against Royal Caribbean, tells TIME in a statement. “Clearly this was a tragic accident and the family’s singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again. Had the cruise lines simply followed proper safety guidelines for windows, this accident likely would never have happened.”

Chloe had asked her grandfather to lift her up so she could “bang on the glass” in a window in the play area, the Associated Press previously reported. But the window was open, and Chloe fell through it.

Winkleman argues that Royal Caribbean is at fault for having left the window open. He also says that Royal Caribbean has not given the family a chance to review any surveillance video that may show the incident.

Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to TIME request for comment. Following Chloe’s death in July, the company had released a statement saying, “we are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident and our hearts go out to the family,” according to CNN.

Chloe’s parents spoke on NBC’s TODAY Show after their daughter’s death. Her mother, Kimberly Wiegand, defended Anello and said that he had never put her childrens’ lives in danger. She also said that he was “extremely hysterical” after the accident. “The thing that he repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass.’ He will cry over and over.” Wiegand said.

The Wiegands said that their daughter was very loving, and that she enjoyed watching her brother play hockey and gardening with her mother.

“She could get anybody to smile,” Wiegand said.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com