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Grandfather of toddler who fell out of cruise ship window sentenced to 3 years probation

Salvatore Anello pleaded guilty to negligent homicide last year after his granddaughter died from falling through an 11-story window from a ship docked in Puerto Rico.
Salvatore Anello with his granddaughter Chloe Wiegand.
Salvatore Anello with his granddaughter Chloe Wiegand.Courtesy Wiegand Family

The grandfather who was with his 18-month-old granddaughter when she fell to her death from an open window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship was sentenced Monday to three years of probation, according to Puerto Rico's Department of Justice.

Salvatore “Sam” Anello, of Valparaiso, Indiana, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide last year after his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, fell through an 11-story window from the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2019.

Anello had initially pleaded not guilty, but last February said that he was going to plead guilty so his family could begin to move on from the tragedy. The plea deal allowed Anello to avoid jail time and serve the probation in his home state, Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Wiegand family, has said.

Chloe Wiegand.

Chloe was with her mother in a children's water park area on the pool's 11th deck. Her mother had to tend to another matter and asked Anello to watch her, according to an ongoing lawsuit the family filed in December 2019 against Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The family alleges that the cruise ship company is at fault for Chloe's death, a claim the company has strongly denied. Royal Caribbean did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

The lawsuit said that Anello was "closely supervising" his granddaughter "when Chloe walked over to a nearby wall of glass." Anello followed and put the girl up to the window so she could bang on the glass but she slipped from his hands and fell through the open window.

Anello has repeatedly said that he did not know the window was open, while the cruise company had released images they say prove Anello had leaned out the window and therefore knew it was open. Winkleman has said the pictures were "misleading."

In July 2019, Chloe's mother, Kimberly Wiegand, said it was confounding that there would be an open air window on an 11th-floor pool deck. "There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer," she said.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.