Schlitterbahn co-owner arrested in Texas on murder count

Published: Mar. 26, 2018 at 5:28 PM CDT
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A newspaper report says the co-owner of the company operating a Kansas water park has been arrested in connection with a criminal case arising from a 10-year-old boy's death on a giant waterslide.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts co-owner Jeffery Henry was arrested Monday in Cameron County, Texas. A captain in the local sheriff's department told the newspaper that Henry was arrested by U.S. marshals on a Kansas warrant.

He was being held without bond, and a jail booking clerk said he would remain there until a court appearance Tuesday.

He was arrested on single count of murder, 12 counts of battery, and five counts of aggravated child endangerment, according to the booking log.

A grand jury in Kansas last week indicted the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, and its former operations director, Tyler Austin Miles, on 20 felony counts. They included involuntary manslaughter over the August 2016 death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab.

The boy was decapitated while riding what was billed as the world's largest water slide.


following Miles' arrest followed a 19-month investigation. A jury trial for Miles is set for September 10. The Kansas Attorney General's Office will prosecute the case.

Schlitterbhan spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement that considering last week’s indictment, the company is not surprised by Henry’s arrest.

“We as a company and as a family will fight these allegations and have confidence that once the facts are presented it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseeable accident,” she said in an emailed statement.

Among other allegations, it criticized the construction of the slide, which it says was inspired after Henry, who also helped design the slide, watched an episode of the Travel Channel's Xtreme Waterparks series. It contends Henry and John Schooley, Verruckt’s lead designer, lacked the expertise to design such a water slide and they skipped fundamental steps in the process.

Experts told investigators it would take three or four people from three to six months before they broke ground on a prototype of a ride. By comparison, the prototype for Verruckt was built just over a month after designers first put pen to paper.

According to the indictment, at one point during testing, when Henry acknowledged a redesign was necessary, he was asked why he and Schooley "didn't have the design science down." Henry reportedly responded, in part, "Obviously things do fall faster than Newton said."

Despite the redesign, the indictment says Henry, Schooley, and Miles all knew it did not solve the problem of launching rafts into the air. At one point, the indictment states, Henry commented:

"[Verruckt] could hurt me, it could kill me... I've seen what this one has done to the crash dummies and to the boats we sent down it. Ever since the prototype. And we had boats flying in the prototype too... It's complex, it's fast, it's mean. If we mess up, it could be the end. I could die going down this slide."

Schlitterbahn released a new statement on Monday:
Below is the statement provided by Tyler’s attorneys, Tom and Tricia Bath: