(Cameron County Sheriff’s Department via AP)
The co-owner of a water park company, was arrested in Texas on Monday in connection with the 2016 the death of a 10-year-old Kansas boy in what was billed as the world’s largest water slide.
Jeffery Henry, the co-owner of Schlitterbahn water Parks and Resorts, was booked in the jail in Cameron County, Texas. According to the county’s online “prisoner list,” Henry faces charges of murder, 12 counts of aggravated battery and five counts of aggravated endangering of a child.
Last week, a Kansas grand jury indicted the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kan., and her former director of operations, Tyler Austin Miles, on 20 felony charges over the death of Caleb Schwab.
Caleb was beheaded on Aug. 7, 2016, while on the Verruckt ride at Schlitterbahn water Park Kansas City after the raft he was riding was in the air.
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement that, given last week’s indictment, the company is not surprised by Henry’s arrest. The company also promised to aggressively fight the criminal charges against Miles and the park, and respond to the allegations in the 47-page indictment “from point to point.”
“We are as a company and as a family will fight these accusations and am confident that once the facts are presented, it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseen accident,” she said in a statement via e-mail.
Cameron County Sheriff’s Capt. Javier Reyna told the Kansas City Star, that Henry was arrested by the U. S. Marshals from Brownsville, Texas.
Prosapio said Schlitterbahn does not expect any changes of the Kansas City park season, which is set to open May 25 and run through Labor Day. The Verruckt slide — which derived its name from the German word for “insane” — is closed since Caleb died.
Caleb Schwab was the son of the Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab, Olathe, and the family reached settlements of nearly $20 million with Schlitterbahn and the various companies associated with the design and construction of the slide.
Two women who rode with Caleb had a serious injury and settled claims with Schlitterbahn for an undisclosed amount.
The indictment against the Miles and the park claims that Verruckt met little, if any, the industrial standards and the Miles delayed or prevented the necessary repairs, even after the drive braking system failed.
The indictment also said Henry involved in the design of the giant water slide, even though he had “no technical or engineering credentials” and that he “rushed timeline” for the construction.
Schlitterbahn last week said the complaint is “full of false information’, and the company also rejected the allegations that the Miles and the company withheld information from law enforcement officials. It is said that the assertion that Caleb’s death was to be expected “beyond the pale of speculation.”
Miles’ attorneys said in their own statement that they would like the opportunity to prove his innocence in court.
“Not only had He cycled the slide many times, but, as the State is aware, that he had planned his wife, to ride on the day of the accident,” the attorneys, Tom and Tricia Bath, said in the statement. “These are not the actions of someone who believed the driving to be dangerous.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.