Lifestyle & Human Interest

Grandfather Charged in Child's Fatal Cruise Ship Fall Speaks About Tragedy for the First Time


Salvatore “Sam” Anello faces up to three years in prison after the death of his 1-year-old granddaughter Chloe Wiegand, who fell from a cruise ship window in July.

In October, a judge in Puerto Rico ordered that Anello be placed under arrest and charged with negligent homicide for his involvement in Chloe’s death.

Anello was released on an $80,000 bond and appeared in court on Wednesday, briefly speaking off-camera with Kerry Sanders of NBC News.

Regardless of the court outcome, Anello believes the worst has already happened in losing little Chloe.

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“They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened,” Anello told Sanders, who posted the conversation on Twitter.

Chloe was on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship with her family on vacation over the summer. On July 7, while the ship was docked in San Juan, Chloe fell out of an 11th-story window.

Anello, who had been supervising the toddler, allegedly lifted Chloe up to a window that he believed was closed.

“Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers hockey games,” the family’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, told WSBT. “Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant.”

Chloe’s parents have stood by Anello’s side, insisting the grandfather always had Chloe’s best interests at heart, and their daughter’s death was a horrible accident, not a crime.

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According to Today, the family feels that the criminal charges have added an extra layer of pain and stress to an already devastating season of life.

“He was extremely hysterical,” Kimberly Wiegand, Chloe’s mother, said of Anello’s response to the tragedy.

“The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass.’ He will cry over and over and over. At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger.”

“(He’s) very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying,” Alan Wiegand, Chloe’s father, said. “She was his best friend.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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