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United States

Man blamed for decapitation of 10-year-old on his water park’s slide is free on bond

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 4:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 6:23am

A water park co-owner charged in the decapitation death of a 10-year-old boy on a 17-story Kansas waterslide was freed on bond Wednesday as the criminal case moved forward against him and two others.

Jeff Henry, an owner of Texas-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, posted a US$500,000 bond within hours of being booked into the Wyandotte County jail in Kansas.

Henry was extradited from Texas, where he lives, after he was indicted last week on charges including second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab at the water park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Caleb was riding the Verruckt water slide at the park when the raft he was on went airborne and hit an overhead loop on the slide, decapitating him.

Henry attorney didn’t immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment. Henry is due in court on Thursday.

The slide’s designer, John Schooley, was arrested Monday in Texas and also faces charges including second-degree murder.

During a hearing on Wednesday, he agreed to be extradited to Kansas and will be transferred there next week, said Dallas County sheriff’s spokesman Raul Reyna. A lawyer for Schooley did not respond to a request for comment.

Tyler Austin Miles, an operations director for Schlitterbahn, has also been charged with manslaughter. He was booked into the Wyandotte County jail on Friday and is being held on US$50,000 bond.

A Kansas grand jury indicted Henry and Schooley on charges that Henry made a “spur of the moment” decision to build the Verruckt — touted as the world’s tallest waterslide — and that he and Schooley lacked technical or engineering expertise in amusement park rides.

Prosecutors argue that the ride violated “nearly all aspects” of longstanding standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

“In fact, the design and operation of the Verruckt complied with few, if any, of the industry safety standard,” the indictment states.

Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in an earlier statement that the indictment “is filled with information that we fully dispute.”