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.
“They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened,” Anello told Sanders, who posted the conversation on Twitter.
Sam Anello faces up to three years in prison in connection with the death of his 1-year-old granddaughter, who fell from a cruise ship in July. https://t.co/D96XQRwLLV
— KDLT News (@KDLTNews) November 21, 2019
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.”
He’s charged w/ Negligent Homicide in the death of his 18 month old granddaughter Chloe. She fell from the window of @RoyalCaribbean ship #FreedomOfTheSeas Now #SamAnello is in court In Puerto Rico-off camera told me “They can’t do anything worse to me than has already happened.“ pic.twitter.com/y2uX2voaEh
— Kerry Sanders (@KerryNBC) November 20, 2019
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.
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.
‘They can’t do anything worse to me,’ says grandfather charged in toddler’s cruise-ship death after court appearance https://t.co/9AtgRlhcC3
— Washington Post Travel (@WaPoTravel) November 22, 2019
“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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