Grandfather charged in cruise ship death of toddler granddaughter appears in court

Credit: Richard Tribou/TNS/Getty Images

Credit: Richard Tribou/TNS/Getty Images

The man whose toddler granddaughter plummeted from a cruise ship window in Puerto Rico this summer appeared in court Wednesday with an attorney and translator present.

According to CBS News, no evidence was released. The court is expected to pick a trial date on Dec. 17.

Puerto Rican authorities charged Salvatore Anello, 50, was charged in October with negligent homicide in the July 7 death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand of Granger, Indiana. A judge set Anello's bond at $80,000.

Chloe and her family were aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas when Anello placed her on a railing by an 11th-floor window, believing glass would be behind her, he told authorities. But the window was open, and Chloe fell through, the Sun Sentinel reported. The girl struck a concrete dock and died, officials said.

The Wiegand family's attorney, Michael Winkleman, blasted the charges and said Royal Caribbean should have "followed proper safety guidelines for windows," NBC News reported.

"These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family," he told the news outlet. "Clearly, this was a tragic accident, and the family's singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again."

In a July 22 interview with "Today," Chloe's mother, Kimberly Wiegand, said she and her husband, South Bend police Officer Alan Wiegand, believed that Royal Caribbean had put their safety at risk.

"We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship," she said at the time. "There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer."

The family also was pursuing legal action against the cruise line, "Today" reported.

Royal Caribbean released a statement in July saying the company was "deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family," according to "Today."

About the Author