Puerto Rico's Justice Department ordered the arrest of Salvatore Anello on Monday, and he faces a charge of negligent homicide in the death of his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, according to a press release from authorities in San Juan. While the vessel was docked in San Juan, Anello placed Chloe near an open window he thought was closed when her family said she fell out of the ship's 11th story in July.
"These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family," said Michael Winkleman at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman P.A., who is representing the family in a planned civil lawsuit. "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."
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Chloe's parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand, said they didn't understand why there would be an open window so high up on the ship and that the cruise line created "a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life."
She said that Anello was extremely distraught over the accident.
"You can barely look at him without him crying," Kimberly Wiegand said. "She was his best friend."
Royal Caribbean said in a statement at the time that it was saddened by the incident and was working with authorities in San Juan in the investigation into Chloe's death.
A spokeswoman for the cruise line on Monday said in a statement that it would have no further comment. "This was a tragic incident, and out of respect for the family’s privacy, we refer you to authorities for further comment."