Chloe Wiegand

Chloe Weigand: Grandfather who dropped tot girl 11 floors on cruise ship says he wants to end ‘nightmare,’ takes plea deal

An Indiana man who dropped his toddler granddaughter, Chloe Weigand, to her death aboard a cruise ship is ready to end the “nightmare.”

“I took a plea deal today to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible,” Salvatore Anello said on Tuesday after his attorney announced the man’s plan to take a plea deal.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chloe, an 18-month-old toddler from Granger, Indiana, was on a cruise with family when she lost her life aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. The ship was docked in Puerto Rico at the time of the incident, on July 7, 2019.

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Chloe died after falling from the 11th floor and landing on the hard, concrete surface of the Pan American dock. She was playing with her grandfather, Anello, in the children’s H2O Zone children’s water park when she fell from an open window.

Anello, who often accompanied Chloe to her brothers’ hockey games, where she enthusiastically banged on the hockey rink glass panel, apparently lifted the girl up at her request while they were in the play area. Within minutes, she slipped from his grasp.

In November, San Juan Investigations Chamber Judge Jimmy Sepúlveda ruled that prosecutors provided probable cause for the arrest of Anello.

According to NBC News, Anello pleaded not guilty in November to the charges. He filed paperwork on Tuesday and changed his plea, attorney Michael Winkleman said. Part of the plea deal includes no jail time.

Winkleman added that Anello will be on probation under the plea change, which can be served in his home state of Indiana.

“[It] is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe,” Winkleman said.

A hearing date for the plea change has not yet been scheduled.

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[Feature Photo: Chloe Wiegand/Family Handout]