Back in July 2019, Anello and his family were aboard the Royal Caribbean vessel Freedom of the Seas, which was docked at San Juan’s Pan American II port in Puerto Rico when the incident occurred. There, Anello, the grandfather of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, allegedly held the girl outside of an open window. Unfortunately, the man lost his grip on the little girl and she fell 11 stories to the concrete below.
“[The grandfather], whom it would appear was playing with the little girl, lifted her out of the open window and lost his grip,” said Elmer Roman, of Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security, at the time.
In October of that year, Puerto Rican authorities charged Anello with negligent homicide.
At the time, family attorney Michael Winkleman insisted that Chloe’s death was nothing more than a tragic accident and that criminal charges were unnecessary and cruel.
“These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,” he said.
This week, Winkleman announced that his client intends to change his plea to guilty, in return for a plea deal that will give him probation rather than jail time. Further, the deal would allow him to serve his probation in Indiana, where he lives, rather than in Puerto Rico.
“[This plea deal] is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe,” he said.
As of this writing, a hearing date for the change in pleas has not been scheduled and it remains unclear if the judge will allow the change.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Royal Caribbean, claiming that the cruise line was negligent in allowing a window to be left open on a deck where children would be playing.
Royal Caribbean, however, claims that Anello knew the window was open and dangerous, as video from the ship purportedly shows Anello holding the young girl outside of the window for several seconds before losing his grip.
The video of the incident can be seen below, but it contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
The cruise line has asked that the family’s lawsuit be dismissed.