Lawyer Says New Video Proves Grandfather’s Innocence in Toddler’s Fatal Fall

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
November 25, 2019US News
Lawyer Says New Video Proves Grandfather’s Innocence in Toddler’s Fatal Fall
Salvatore "Sal" Anello and his granddaughter Chloe Wiegand. (Courtesy of the Wiegand Family)

Closed-circuit videos capturing the last moments before 18-months-old Chloe Wiegand, from Granger, Indiana, fell to her death from a cruise ship in Puerto Rico in July exonerate her grandfather says his attorney.

“What I saw with the video, it’s pretty consistent with what my client has told me,” said lawyer José G. Pérez Ortiz, who represents Anello, the Indianapolis Star, reported. “My client thought that the window was closed. Nothing in the video is inconsistent.”

Salvatore “Sal” Anello was charged with negligent homicide on October 28 over the death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico on July 8, after Chloe fell out of the ship’s window 11 stories or 115 feet down on to the concrete floor.

The videos, which have not been released to the public due to privacy reasons and its disturbing content, reportedly show Anello lifting his granddaughter over the parapet, which was about a foot from the open window.

Both Anello and Chloe, apparently, assumed there was a glass pane before them, as the video shows little Chloe leaning forward to slam with her hands on the window—only there was none. The next moment, on the second video, Chloe is out of sight, and Anello goes down on his knees in despair.

“He was extremely hysterical. The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass,’” Chloe’s mother, Kimberly Wiegand told People. “He will cry over and over and over. At no point ever—ever—has [he] ever put our kids in danger,” she said. “[Chloe] was his best friend,” the father, Alan Wiegand added.

Puerto Rico Attorney General Dennise Longo Quiñones, however, said in a statement to the Daily News that “The Department of Justice does not discuss the evidence to be presented at trial prior to the proceedings. We remain confident, however, that all of the evidence will prove Salvatore Anello’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Chloe Wiegand
18-month-old girl, Chloe, who fell to her death from the window of a cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July. (Courtesy of Wiegand Family)

“They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened,” Anello told Today.Com on Wednesday.

The grieving parents of the toddler, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand are standing in support of the girl’s grandfather after he was charged with negligent homicide. They are vowing to sue the cruise liner for leaving a window open in a play area.

“They are confused as to why the focus is on Sal when the bigger question is why Royal Caribbean wasn’t following the standards for the windows that are designed specifically to prevent a child from falling,” last month family lawyer Michael Winkleman told the New York Times. about Chloe’s parents, who said they were blaming the sea-line for the horrible accident.

MS Allure of the Seas
The MS Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International Cruise ship, the world’s largest passenger vessel (1200 ft). (Roni Lehti/Getty Images)

Winkleman said that Anello was playing with the girl near an open window, thinking that it was closed, CNN reported.

Her parents have blamed Royal Caribbean, saying the window should not have been open in the first place.

Prosecutors have alleged that he “negligently exposed [his granddaughter] through one of the windows,” according to a statement from the Puerto Rican Department of Justice.

A judge “found cause for arrest against the accused, who has been released on a bail of $80,000.”  Anello is scheduled to reappear in court for a second hearing on Dec. 17.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this article