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Co-Owner Of Kansas Water Park Where 10-Year-Old Boy Was Decapitated Is Arrested
Indictment alleges the slide was hastily made to impress the producers of the Travel Channel show "Xtreme Waterparks."
In the summer of 2016, a 10-year-old boy got on the tallest waterslide in the world - the almost 170-foot-tall Verrückt at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.
The ride, which is covered by metal hoops, begins on a raft with a nearly vertical drop, and then ascends 50 feet above the ground. Problem is, riders go airborne instead of sliding back down, a problem the company knew about but didn't fix, according to the Washington Post.
The boy, Caleb Schwab, son of Kansas state Rep. Scott Schwab, hit a metal hoop on the ride and died of decapitation.
The co-owner of the park, Jeffrey Wayne Henry, 62, was arrested on murder charges Sunday and held without bond. Last week, the park itself and its former director of operations, Tyler Miles, were also indicted.
The Cameron County Sheriff's website lists other charges as well: 12 counts of aggravated battery and five counts of aggravated endangerment to a child.
The indictment is more than 40 pages long, and it alleges that the waterslide was hastily made in order to impress producers of a TV show on the Travel Channel called Xtreme Waterparks. It also alleges that the company knew the waterslide was unsafe and could result in injuries or death, but opened it anyway. Several injuries were reported, from neck pain to concussions, before Caleb's death, the Post said.
The ride has since closed. Henry's indictment said he "possesses no technical or engineering credentials, yet he controls decisions regarding Schlitterbahn design and construction projects." It was this lack of expertise and the rush to completion that led Henry and the company to ignore fundamental steps in the design process, according to NBC News.
In a statement to the Kansas City Star, Schlitterbahn pushed back against the allegations. "The secret Grand Jury never heard one word from us directly, nor were we allowed to provide contradictory evidence. And we have plenty," a spokesperson for the park said. "In fact, the indictment presented is so full of false information that it has shocked the Kansas legal community."
Henry owns the park with his siblings.
[Photos: Cameron County Sheriff's Office; Getty]