A heartbreaking story happened yesterday in the death of an Indiana toddler who slipped from the arms of her grandfather at 150 feet high on to concrete and the family’s attorney is saying that the grandfather thought the glass window was close.
Eighteen-month-old Chloe Wiegand was traveling with her parents and the grandparents of both families on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when she fell to her death on Sunday, July 7, according to her parents’ attorney, Michael Winkleman.
Winkleman said at a news conference on Tuesday that Chloe was playing with her grandfather in the children’s water park play area on deck 11 of the cruise ship when her grandfather put her on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows.
The toddler was a hockey fan and loved to bang on the ice hockey rink glass wall as she watched her older brother. That’s why her grandfather put her on the railing thinking she’d bang on the glass, Winkleman said.
Winkleman told ABC News they are waiting to see closed circuit TV footage of the fall, and have yet to decide whether a lawsuit will be flied.
“The singular reason they hired me to start was to help with the truth to get out there, because there was a lot of misinformation being spread on the Internet and various sources,” Winkleman told ABC News in an interview Tuesday night. “But of course, my primary role as their advocate and the attorney, is to help them seek justice for what happened to Chloe.”
“And if that means filing a lawsuit against them, that’s certainly something that is in the playbook of options,” he added.
Winkleman called Chloe’s death a “tragic accident that was preventable.”
“Why would you ever in a kids play area put windows that passengers can open?” Winkleman said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put a child there thinking there’s glass.”
Who opened the window on the cruise ship was not identified, but the Wiegand family claimed they had not opened it, Winkleman said.
Chloe’s autopsy has been completed, and her remains were sent to a funeral home chosen by the family on Tuesday.
A representative for the Puerto Rico Department of Justice said in a statement that it and the San Juan attorney general’s office will continue working on a rigorous investigation for this case.
Chloe was the daughter of a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, according to the department, and Chloe’s parents are “beside themselves,” Winkleman said.