The family of a toddler who died after her grandfather allegedly dropped her from the window of a cruise ship Sunday are refusing to place blame on him.
Salvatore Anello, the child’s grandfather, is currently under investigation and could face criminal charges of negligence, the New York Post reports.
The family of Chloe Wiegand, 1, said Tuesday that Anello seated the child on a window ledge on the 11th floor, not knowing it was open. The family’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, said he questions why the cruise ship’s window was left open in the first place.
“Why in the world would you leave a window open in an entire glass wall of windows in a kids’ area. Why would you have that kind of hidden danger without any warning, without any sign, [or] without any notice?” he commented.
“Essentially her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it’s clear, but it turns out there was no glass there,” Winkleman said. “She goes to bang on the glass … and the next thing you know, she’s gone.”
However, Elmer Roman of the Puerto Rican Department of Public Security initially told reporters that Anello appeared to be playing with his granddaughter near the window, then “lifted her out of the open window and lost his grip.”
Reports state that the family was gathered in a nearby area when the devastating event took place.
The child’s father, Alan Wiegand, is a police officer in South Bend, Indiana. In a statement, the department offered their “sincerest condolences” and asked the community to pray for Officer Wiegand and his family.
One of Anello’s coworkers, Mike Hamann, called the grandfather a “wonderful employee” and said everyone who knows him loves him.
“He is beloved by all. We are crushed by this tragedy, and we all are mourning for him and his family,” Hamann said.