An Indiana family is in shock after a 1-year-old girl — daughter of a South Bend Police Department officer — slipped from her grandfather’s hands and fell to her death from the 11th story of a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico, police said Monday.
“They’re in shock,” Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press, noting that the family of the child will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation is complete.
He said officers have not yet been able to interview any relatives.
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The South Bend Police Department said in a statement, as USA Today reported, that the girl was the daughter of Officer Alan Wiegand: “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.”
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 week-long trip through the Caribbean.
The death occurred Sunday afternoon at the Panamerican dock in the capital of San Juan.
Puerto Rico Ports Authority spokesman José Carmona told the AP that the family was gathered in or near a dining hall on the 11th floor and that the grandfather sat the toddler on the edge of a window and apparently lost his grip. He said officials are investigating whether the window was already opened or if someone had opened it.
Sotelo said the toddler’s maternal grandfather, Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, Indiana, is under investigation. He said the rest of the family is from Granger, Indiana.
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Royal Caribbean Cruises called it a tragic incident and said it was helping the family. A spokeswoman said the ship departed Puerto Rico on Monday for St. Maarten on a new itinerary and declined further comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.