UPDATE: South Bend officer's baby daughter dies after falling from cruise ship

Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 9:47 AM EDT
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A South Bend police officer's 1-year-old daughter died after falling 11 stories from a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico.

The family is disputing the police account of the tragedy.

The incident occurred Sunday afternoon at the Panamerican dock in the capital of San Juan.

Police said Monday that Chloe Wiegand died when the young girl's grandfather told officers he lost his grip while holding her outside a window on the Freedom of the Seas. He was identified as Salvatorre Anello, of Valparaiso.

The toddler's father is Officer Alan Wiegand of the South Bend Police Department.

In an interview on NBC's TODAY, the family attorney, Michael Winkleman, said the grandfather rather placed Chloe on a ledge and had no idea it was open.

"Why in the world would you leave a window open in an entire glass wall full of windows in a kids' area," the attorney said. "Why would you have that kind of hidden danger without any kind of warning, without any notice?"

Winkleman hinted at a possible lawsuit in the TODAY interview, saying Royal Caribbean should be held liable for negligence.

Winkleman released the following statement later Tuesday morning:

"Chloe's grandfather was playing with her in the kid’s water zone. Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brothers hockey games. Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant.

"The family needs answers as to why there would be an open window in a wall full of fixed windows in a kids' play area? Why would you have the danger without any warning, sign, or notice?

"I think there is going to be blame, and significant blame, on the cruise line, and I will do everything I can to hold them accountable for what appears to be negligence."

A South Bend police representative released the following statement Monday: "The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico. The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy."

Royal Caribbean Cruises said the following in a statement: "We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need. Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident."

The investigation is ongoing, and the child's family reportedly will stay in Puerto Rico until authorities have completed their work.

This is a developing story. Stay with NewsCenter 16 on the air and online as we work to learn more.