Jeff Henry, Schlitterbahn Co-Owner, Arrested in Cameron County

Jeff Henry, a co-owner of the Schlitterbahn water park empire and one of the most prominent business leaders in the San Antonio area, has been arrested on felony charges relating to the decapitation death of a boy on a Schlitterbahn water ride in Kansas in 2016, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Henry, 62, was arrested in Cameron County, where Schlitterbahn has a park on South Padre Island.  On line Cameron County booking records show Henry is facing multiple charges, including 12 counts of aggravated battery and five counts of aggravated child endangerment on a warrant out of Kansas. 

 Henry is one of the three children of the late Schlitterbahn founder Bob Henry who now own and operate the company, which has water parks in New Braunfels, South Padre Island, Galveston, and suburban Kansas City.

A former Schlitterbahn employee, Tyler Austin Miles, was arrested on similar charges last week and is free on bond. Henry is expected to be required to post bail in Wyandotte County Kansas.

The charges stem from an incident on the Verruckt, a water slide partly designed by Henry and described as 'the tallest in the world.'  A ten year old boy, Caleb Schwab, was killed while riding on the Verruckt, and two women were injured.

The indictment, which was returned in Kansas last week, accuses Henry of 'lacking the technical expertise' to construct a ride of this nature, and accuses Schlitterbahn of rushing the Verruckt into active service to, among other things, a 'spur of the moment' effort to impress the producer a reality TV show, 'Xtreme Waterparks'

"The death of C.S. at first appeared to be an isolated and unforeseeable accident, until whistleblowers from within Schlitterbahn's own ranks came forward and revealed that Schlitterbahn had covered up similar incidents in the past," the indictment claims.

Verruckt, the indictment claims, 'complied with few, if any, of industry safety standards.' and claims that 'evidence in the form of corporate e-mails, memoranda, blueprints, video recordings, photographs, and eyewitness statements revealed that this child's death and the rapidly growing list of injuries were foreseeable and expected outcomes.  Verruckt's designers and operators knew that Verruckt posed a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death and serious bodily harm.'

The indictment also claims that at one point, Henry said 'Verruckt could hurt me, it could kill me, it is a seriously dangerous piece of equipment.  If we mess up, it could be the end.'

In a statement released to a Kansas City TV station, Schlitterbahn said, "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."

Henry has received several awards for his waterpark design, and is recognized in the industry as among the premiere waterpark designers in the country.

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