Toddler daughter of Ind. police officer falls to death from cruise ship

The girl's grandfather, Salvatore Anello, apparently lost his grip while holding the 1-year-old girl


By Lincoln Wright
South Bend Tribune, Ind.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A toddler who fell to her death from a cruise ship in Puerto Rico is the daughter of South Bend police officer Alan Wiegand.

Authorities say the ship was docked Sunday afternoon at the Panamerican dock in San Juan when the girl's grandfather, Salvatore Anello, apparently lost his grip while holding the 1-year-old girl on the 11th story of the Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas.

The Freedom of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked at the San Juan Port, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, June 20, 2007. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
The Freedom of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked at the San Juan Port, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, June 20, 2007. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

"The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to officer Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico," the department said in a statement. "The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy."

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, in a statement to WSBT-TV, disputed a statement issued by Puerto Rico police that the girl was being held out of a window.

Royal Caribbean Cruises called the event a tragic incident and said it was helping the family. The company declined additional comment.

A San Juan newspaper quoted Elmer Roman of the Puerto Rican Department of Public Security as saying, "It's a very grave scene, very regrettable and tragic."

The newspaper, Primera Hora, also reported that authorities were still interviewing the girl's family members and were trying to locate security camera footage to help with the investigation.

Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press that the family of the child will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation is complete. He said officers have not been able to interview any relatives yet.

"They're in shock," he said.

Authorities said the girl was traveling with her parents, two siblings and two sets of grandparents aboard the Freedom of the Seas, which docked in Puerto Rico on Sunday after a weeklong trip through the Caribbean. The death occurred Sunday afternoon.

Sotelo said the toddler's maternal grandfather, Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, is under investigation. He said the rest of the family is from Granger.

A Royal Carribbean Cruises spokeswoman said the ship departed Puerto Rico on Monday for St. Maarten on a new itinerary and declined further comment.

©2019 the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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