Police investigating the death of the 18-month girl who fell from a cruise ship while playing with her grandfather say they have not ruled out the possibility of bringing forward murder or homicide charges.
Chloe Wiegand died after plummeting from the 11th story of the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 7.
It was originally reported that the girl died after slipping from her grandfather’s grasp as he held her by a window. The family has dismissed these reports, claiming Chloe accidentally fell through an open window in the kid’s play area after being placed on a railing by her grandfather Salvatore Anello, who thought there was glass behind it.
According to the family’s lawyer, Michael Winkelman, Anello placed the child on the railing so she could bang on the glass, which she enjoyed doing while she was watching her brother’s ice hockey games.
Police investigating the death of the 18-month-old girl have said it is still too early to declare it an accident.
“There are various possibilities. It could be a homicide. It could be a murder. It could be an accident,” Sgt Jose D. Sanchez, acting head of the San Juan Police Department’s Homicide Division, told Mail Online.
“We are currently in the very early stages of the investigation. We haven’t ruled out any possibility.
“We are doing a professional, thorough investigation into the events to explain the death of this little girl. As police officers our duty lies with the victim.”
Sanchez said officers have not spoken to any witnesses who could provide a first-hand account of how Chloe fell. Police have also not spoken to any of the family members, who have since returned to Indiana.
“As of now though we have not been able to interview them. It’s understandable that they would be afflicted by the death of a family member. It should be a happy time but it’s a tragedy,” Sanchez added.
Winkelman previously argued the cruise liner is responsible for the girl’s death for having an open window in a kid’s play area.
“Why would you have that kind of hidden danger without any warning, without any sign, without any notice?”
“I think there is going to be blame and significant blame on the cruise line and I’m going to do everything I can to hold them accountable for what appears to be negligence,” he added.
The lawyer also said that Royal Caribbean is yet to hand over surveillance footage of the incident showing how Chloe came to fall from the 11th story.
“We still have not received the footage despite repeated requests to Royal Caribbean. This is certainly the most critical piece of evidence,” Winkelman told Newsweek.
Winkelman also previously dismissed suggestions that Anello was drunk while he was looking after the girl: “There was absolutely no alcohol involved, Sam is not a drinker.”
The Royal Caribbean said in a statement: “We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR, as they make inquiries after an incident aboard Freedom of the Seas on Sunday. We do not have further information to share at this point.”