Law enforcement officials pick up Schlitterbahn co-owner in Texas to bring him to Kansas


Jeff Henry

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Law enforcement officials picked up the co-owner of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, Jeffrey Wayne Henry, from the Cameron County Detention Center on Tuesday.

He is currently en route to Kansas where he will make his first court appearance in the Wyandotte County District Court on Thursday, April 5, at 2 p.m.

Henry’s attorney, Carl Cornwell, told FOX4 Henry has a $500,000 bond attached to his arrest warrant. Cornwell said Henry will post bond after he arrives in Wyandotte County.

Cornwall said he expects prosecutors will argue that Henry is a flight risk because he lives near the Mexico border and therefore should wear a GPS tracking device when he returns to Texas. Cornwall said they will fight the call for a tracker.

Jeff Henry

Henry had his first appearance in a Cameron County, Texas, court last Wednesday for an extradition hearing where he said he would not oppose extradition to Kansas to face numerous charges, including second-degree murder for the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab. Henry is one of three Schlitterbahn leaders that were charged.

See video of that first court appearance in the video player below.

The ride's co-designer, John Schooley, who has also been charged in connection to Caleb's death, was taken into federal custody Monday when returned to the United States on a flight from China.

John Schooley

Schooley was reportedly out of the country on business but was aware that he had been charged and was wanted, a U.S. Marshals spokesperson previously told FOX4.

Last Wednesday, officials said Kansas plans to conduct a full audit of Schlitterbahn's inspection records before it reopens this spring.

The Kansas Department of Labor said it will review reports from daily inspections of rides by park staff at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, before it is scheduled to reopen May 25 for its annual season. A state law enacted last year after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's death requires amusement parks to keep daily reports on their rides and to give them annual inspections.

A grand jury has issued indictments with multiple criminal charges against the park; the construction company that built the giant water slide; former park operations director Tyler Austin Miles; the ride's co-designer, John Timothy Schooley; and a co-owner of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, Jeff Henry.

Read the full first indictment here.

Read the full second indictment here.

Henry, Schooley and the construction company face one felony count of second-degree murder, and Miles and the park face one count of involuntary manslaughter, over Caleb's death. Both companies and the three men also face several other charges.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Caleb died when the raft he was riding on the 17-story Verruckt water slide went airborne and hit an overhead loop.

State law allows parks to have their own staff do daily inspections and to have private inspectors do the annual inspections, rather than state inspectors. The inspectors doing the annual reviews must be either licensed engineers with two years' experience with amusement rides, have five years' experience in inspecting rides or have been certified by one of three industry groups.

Kanasas Department of Labor spokesperson Barbara Hersh said the audit will show whether the park has been conducting the required inspections and maintaining proper records on them as it prepares to reopen for the season.

"They will have a notebook full of inspections," she said.

The Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas.

Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement last week that the latest indictment against Henry, Schooley and the construction company "is filled with information that we fully dispute."

The company also posted a statement on its website that all park attractions are "thoroughly inspected daily" by supervisors and managers.

Also, it said, before the park opens for the season, each ride has a thorough internal review and an inspection from "an independent third party." The statement said the park's insurance provider also conducts annual inspections.

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