An Indiana man charged with negligent homicide in his granddaughter’s fatal plunge from a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico insists that he didn’t realize an 11th-floor window was open before the 18-month-old fell to her death in July.
Fifty-one-year-old Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso tells “CBS This Morning” that Chloe Wiegand fell after he lifted her to a window on the Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas so she could bang on the glass like she did at hockey games.
He says he watched her “fall all the way down,” adding, “I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass there.”
Anello says he’s colorblind and that may be why he didn’t realize the tinted window was open.
He was charged with negligent homicide last month in Chloe’s death. Security video of the incident from the ship remains unreleased but is believed to have compelled the charges.
This seems like it's all not real. She's such a beautiful little girl, a perfect little girl … smart little girl, smart little girl that everybody should have been able to know, that everybody should have been able to know."
When asked who he blames for what happened, Anello said he iniitally blamed himself, but ultimately determined if there had been warning signs for the open window "we wouldn't even have been near it."
Anello's attorneys told Sanders that her death was a horrible accident, but not a crime.
Chloe's parents, Kimberly and Alan Wiegand, defended Anello in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY in July.
"He was extremely hysterical,'' Kimberly said. "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. She was his best friend."