Cameron County Texas Sheriff's Office

Schlitterbahn co-owner arrested in Texas on Verruckt water slide death charges

The water park company updates its statement on the arrests & charges

March 26, 2018 - 5:56 pm
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Jeff Henry, co-owner of Schlitterbahn was arrested today in Cameron County, Texas for multiple counts of aggravated child endangerment and aggravated battery.

The charges against Henry, 62, are in connection to the decapitation death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt water slide in 2016 at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas.

On Friday March 23rd, a former Schlitterbahn executive was arrested based on multiple charges brought by a grand jury, including involuntary manslaughter, in connection with the death and multiple injuries on the Verruckt water slide.

The water park company was also criminally indicted on the same charges.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts has released a statement saying they are "shocked" by the allegations in the grand jury's indictment and that safety and maintenance are at the top of their priority list.

They say the indictment is full of false information.

Full updated statement from the Schlitterbahn corporate office:

We were shocked by the allegations being made by the Attorney General about Tyler and our KC park. The allegation that we operated, and failed to maintain, a ride that could foreseeably cause such a tragic accident is beyond the pale of speculation. Many of us, and our children and grandchildren, have ridden the ride with complete confidence as to its safety. Our operational mantra has been and will forever be Safety First.  

The accusation that we withheld information or altered evidence is completely false. We have operated with integrity from day one at the waterpark – as we do throughout our waterparks and resorts. We put our guests and employees safety first; and safety and maintenance are at the top of our list of priorities. 

Since the date of the incident we have worked closely with law enforcement; at no time have we withheld evidence; at no time have we altered evidence. The indictment uses quoted statements from a reality TV show that was scripted for dramatic effect that in no way reflects the design and construction of the ride. 

Quotes were purported to be from definitive design meetings, when they were, in fact, “acting.”

During the civil matter, attorneys involved noted that we cooperated fully, provided thousands of documents, and that nothing was withheld or tampered with. The secret Grand Jury never heard one word from us directly, nor were we allowed to provide contradictory evidence. And we have plenty.

In fact, the indictment presented is so full of false information that it has shocked the Kansas legal community, as you can see in the statement from Tyler Miles’ attorneys below. 

Our legal team will be speaking out against each of the allegations point by point in the coming weeks and months. Rest assured, we stand behind our staff and all our parks. We will be fighting these charges aggressively. We know that Tyler is innocent and that we run a safe operation – our 40 years of entertaining millions of people speaks to that. 

We look forward to proving this in court where we know the facts will prove this was an accident.

Below is the statement provided by Tyler’s attorneys, Tom and Tricia Bath;

The suggestions that C.S.’s death was foreseeable to Tyler Miles, that, with this knowledge Tyler “avoided or delayed repairs,” and that Tyler “had covered up similar incidents” are simply not true. Not only had Tyler ridden the slide numerous times, but, as the State is aware, he had scheduled his wife, to ride it on the day of the accident. These are not the actions of someone who believed the ride to be dangerous.

The allegation that Tyler knowingly obstructed the investigation is, likewise, false.  From the moment of the accident, and continuing until the charges were filed, Tyler cooperated with law enforcement. He did not hide or destroy documents. 

The Constitution requires that an Indictment be based upon legal evidence- not speculation or conjecture. This Indictment is based upon Grand Jury proceedings, which are conducted in secret. While neither we nor the public have had an opportunity to see transcripts of Grand Jury witness testimony, the Indictment is littered with references to evidence that is not legal. 

Only after Tyler is able to obtain transcripts, witness statements and police reports will he, like any citizen, be in a position to fully address these allegations. What we know is that Tyler is innocent, which is why he insisted, at his first court appearance, that we set the matter for jury trial. We look forward to the opportunity to challenge the evidence, in a public forum, and prove Tyler’s innocence. 

Considering the allegations from Friday’s indictment, we were not surprised at the actions taken by the Attorney General to charge Jeff Henry. 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.

 

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