Murder charges dismissed in Verruckt water slide death

KMBZ News Staff
February 22, 2019 - 12:06 pm

Kansas City, KS - A Wyandotte County judge has dismissed charges against the defendants in the death of Caleb Schwab at the Schlitterbahn water park in 2016.

The judge ruling that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt abused the grand jury process.

The park's owner, Jeff Henry, along with Verruckt waterslide designer John Schooley, had been charged with second degree murder for the death of Schwab.

Operations manager Tyler Miles was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the boy's death.

The judge dismissed the charges citing "improper evidence" presented to a grand jury. 

A defense attorney argued that the grand jury should not have been shown video from a Travel Channel show that featured Verruckt, the world's tallest water slide.

The attorney said the show fictionalized how Schlitterbahn operated the water slide, and that the prosecution did not tell the jury that images of rafts flying off the slide were a dramatization. 

AG Schmidt can still bring the case to another grand jury, or he can also file a criminal complaint for a traditional trial. 

Late Friday, Schmidt released this statement:

“We are obviously disappointed and respectfully disagree with the court’s decision. We will review the ruling carefully, including the court’s observation that the ruling ‘does not preclude the possibility that the State could continue to pursue this matter in a criminal court,’ and take a fresh look at the evidence and applicable law in this tragic and troubling case to determine the best course forward.”

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