The designer of the Kansas waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was decapitated in 2016 was taken into custody in Dallas last night after arriving on a flight from China, the U.S. Marshals Service says. John Schooley, 72, was detained at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. He’s charged with second-degree murder.
Schooley will be held in the Dallas area pending his arraignment and extradition to Kansas, the Marshals Service says.
Caleb Schwab was killed in August 2016 while riding the 168-foot-tall “Verruckt” – German for “insane.” It was the top draw at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, since its debut two years before. It was billed as the world’s tallest waterslide.
A grand jury issued indictments with multiple criminal charges against the park; the construction company that built the giant waterslide; former park operations director Tyler Austin Miles; a co-owner of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, Jeffrey Wayne Henry, and Schooley.
Henry, Schooley and the construction company each face one felony count of second-degree murder and Miles and the waterpark, one count of involuntary manslaughter, over Caleb’s death.
The raft the boy was riding in on the 17-story ride went airborne and hit an overhead loop.
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement Tuesday the latest indictment against Henry, Schooley and the construction company “is filled with information that we fully dispute.”
In addition to Schooley, Henry and the construction company are charged with second-degree murder in connection with Caleb’s death, and Miles and the park are charged with involuntary manslaughter. All five defendants are charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child, in connection with injuries to other riders on the waterslide.
Miles was arrested last month and released from a Kansas jail on bond. Henry was arrested last week in Cameron County, Texas, and waived extradition to Kansas during a court hearing.