Things That Matter

Grandfather Of Toddler Who Died Of Fall From Cruise Ship Sentenced To Probation

Update February 11, 2021

Salvatore “Sam” Anello has been sentenced in the case of the death of his granddaughter Chloe Wiegand. The sentencing is the end of a long and tragic story of an accidental death during a family vacation to Puerto Rico.

Salvatore “Sam” Anello has been sentenced to three years’ probation.

Anello was on vacation in Puerto Rico with his family when he was showing his daughter Puerto Rico from the cruise ship. The grandfather held his granddaughter up to the window and she fell to the dock below from the 11th story. Anello pleaded guilty to get the ordeal behind the family to allow for the civil case against the cruise ship company to move forward.

“After this sentencing, I feel a mixture of anger and relief,” Anello said in a statement. “Relief that I will serve no jail time and that I did not have to admit any facts. Relief for my family so that we can close this chapter and move on together.”

The Wiegand family is suing the cruise line for negligence after the child fell from the window. According to CNN, the discovery phase of the case shows no way that Anello could have known that the window was open.

Update: October 16, 2020

The grandfather of the toddler who fell from a cruise ship window in Puerto Rico has pleaded guilty. The tragic accident happened in 2019 when the family took a vacation to Puerto Rico. The grandfather tried to show his granddaughter the island from a window but didn’t know it was open.

Salvatore Anello pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after his granddaughter fell from a cruise ship window.

Anello will not serve any jail time as part of a plea deal. Instead, the man has been sentenced to probation in Indiana. According to the family’s attorney, the decision was not an easy one but had to be done to close the chapter. The family has been in legal battles for more than a year as the case worked its way through the court.

“This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family, but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the 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 and fighting for cruise passenger safety,” the family’s attorney said, according to CBS News.

Original: There are new charges being brought against the grandfather of a 1-year-old girl who fell to her death from an 11th story window on a cruise ship this past July. Authorities are charging Salvatore Anello with negligent homicide after prosecutors argued that his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, 18 months, fell and died after he lifted her up to an open window on the cruise ship. Anello says he thought that the window was closed when he lifted her next to the window but instead she fell 11 stories onto the concrete below on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was docked in San Juan back on July 7. 

Salvatore Anello is facing three years in prison for the death of 1-year-old Wiegand after Puerto Rico’s Justice Department ordered his arrest this past Monday. They argue that he negligently exposed his granddaughter to the open window. 

Credit: @DailyMail / Twitter

Wiegand was on vacation with her dad, a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, her mother, siblings and both sets of grandparents on the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. The family has been crushed by the news and at this time has stood by Anello’s story that he didn’t know that the window was open. According to the family, he often held up his granddaughter next to the glass at her older brother’s hockey game so she could bang on it. 

“Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers’ hockey games,” Michael Winkleman, an attorney for Wiegand’s parents said in a July statement. “Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant.”

Winkleman told NBC News that the new charges being put forward have only made the situation worse. He describes the morale within the family as “fractured” after Anello’s arrest.

“The family is crushed. Utterly crushed,” Winkleman said. “I think they were doing their best to really start the process of grieving for the months since the incident since the tragedy happened and I think they were really doing their best to keep it together for their 11-year-old son.”

The grandfather has vehemently denied any and all accusations of wrongdoing to his granddaughter. The family lawyer has called for more warnings or even a sign to notify people of the open window near the play area. 

Credit: @WTHRoom / Twitter

“I think the critical problem there was that there are strict safety regulations that are in place that are literally designed to protect against exactly that incident, which is a toddler falling through an open glass window,” Winkleman said. “Those are primarily, you could have a screen, you could have some type of grid. Or more importantly, windows in that type of a situation aren’t even supposed to open more than 4 inches.”

While video evidence has yet to be seen by the family, they are holding Royal Caribbean responsible for their daughter’s death. Winkleman told NBC News on Tuesday that the family has no reason to not believe Anello’s story. Winklemam says that the family intends to pursue a lawsuit against the cruise line.

“We know what Sam’s version of the events were, and I have no reason to doubt what he said,” Winkleman said. “Having said that, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10,000 words.”

Kimberly, the girl’s mother, previously told NBC’s “Today” that “I never want another mother to have to experience this or to see what I had to see or to scream how I had to scream.”

“I didn’t know that she went out a window,” Kimberley said. “And I just kept saying, ‘Take me to my baby. Where’s my baby?’ I didn’t even notice a window. I ran over there and I looked over and it wasn’t water down there, it was concrete. To lose our baby this way is just unfathomable.”

Royal Caribbean released a statement Tuesday that Weigand’s death was a “tragic incident” and is referring questions over to authorities “out of respect for the family’s privacy.”

Anello is being held on an $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on November 20.

READ: A Taco Truck Apologized For Serving ICE Employees At A Detention Center But Then Walked Back Their Apology

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

Things That Matter

Seven-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams Fatally Shot In Drive-Thru Of A Chicago McDonald’s

Jaslyn Adams was only 7 years old. Her age and innocence should have kept her shielded from the brutalities of her life and yet, even something as special as her father-daughter date to McDonald’s could not protect her.

While on a drive with her 29-year-old father, Adams was shot at and killed this past Sunday.

Adams was shot multiple times and pronounced dead.

According to reports, employees at the McDonald’s employee saw two men jump out of another car and ambush the Adams family car. The men fired into the car multiple times, striking Jaslyn multiple times in the body and her father in the torso.

A police vehicle at the scene rushed Jaslyn to a nearby hospital. She was pronounced dead at the hospital while her father is still being hospitalized and in serious condition.

No suspects have been arrested.

“It’s really emotional now for my family,”  Tawny McMullen, the victim’s aunt told WBBM. “She was just … sweet and outgoing. Really talkative, really lovable.” McMullen went onto lament how an average regular father-daughter trip to McDonald’s could end in such tragedy. “Y’all, please put the guns down,” McMullen went on to say “My 8-year-old baby says she doesn’t want to go out and play because she is scared that she is going to be shot.”

In response to the shooting, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot underlined how heartbroken she was.

“Our kids want to play. My kids can’t even go out the door because of this violence. Please put the guns down,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented. “This unthinkable act of violence has no place here. The epidemic of gun violence cutting our children’s lives short cannot go on.” 

Jaslyn’s death coincides with the recent murder of 13-year-old Adam Toledo who was also a child.

https://twitter.com/search?q=adam%20toledo&src=typed_query&f=image

Toledo was killed on March 29 by a Chicago police officer. Bodycam footage of Toledo’s murders shows “less than a second passed between when the boy is seen holding a handgun” and he was shot by the officer.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com