Judge dismisses charges against Schlitterbahn officials relating to boy's death on water slide

Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 22, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Wyandotte County judge on Friday dismissed all charges against Schlitterbahn Waterpark officials, saying he found multiple abuses by the Kansas Attorney General's Office in the grand jury process.

The charges stemmed from the August 2016 death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn’s Kansas City, Kansas, water park.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark co-owner Jeff Henry, Verruckt designer John Schooley and former park manager Tyler Miles all faced multiple charges related to the boy's death.

Judge Robert Burns ruled that the Attorney General’s Office improperly presented a “highly dramatized” Travel Channel video of Verruckt’s construction to the grand jury.

Burns also ruled that the state improperly allowed questionable expert witnesses to testify about testing standards not required under Kansas law.

In addition, the judge found that witnesses improperly testified about the 2013 death of a lifeguard at Schlitterbahn's South Padre Island water park in Texas, which he said would be inadmissible in court.

Defense attorneys left the Wyandotte County Courthouse without comment on Friday.

The Attorney General's Office could choose to refile charges and seek probable cause from a judge or take the case back to a grand jury.

Assistant Attorney General Adam Zentner declined to comment after the ruling.

In October, a jury found two former maintenance employees not guilty of lying to investigators after the boy's death.