The father of a 10-year-old boy who died on the world’s tallest water slide is a Kansas lawmaker whose family is deeply involved in church and youth baseball activities.
Rep. Scott Schwab was identified as the father of Caleb Schwab, the youth who perished Aug. 7 on the water slide at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn water park. Scott Schwab is married to Michele.
According to People Magazine, the Verrückt water slide’s name means “crazy” in German and “was named the world’s tallest water slide by Guinness World Records in 2014.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Family Was at an Event For Elected Officials When The Tragedy Occurred & Had Attended Church Together That Morning
The accident occurred while the Schwabs were at the Kansas City waterpark for an event for elected officials.
The Kansas City Star says the family attended church that Sunday morning and almost didn’t go to the water park because the weather was cool with rain expected.
Eventually, the sun came out, so the family – the parents and their four boys – went to the park. The parents watched two of the boys, and Caleb and his 12-year-old brother, Nathan, went off to go on rides. Admittance to the park was free for families of elected officials that day, said The Kansas City Star.
Caleb was described as a boy who loved sports, especially baseball, and church; he attended Heritage Christian Academy, a private school, said Fox4KC. The family’s pastor said Caleb was very religious and quoted Michele Schwab as saying of her son, “that anytime someone had a need or something like this happened to someone else, Caleb was the one to say that they had to pray,” said The Kansas City Star.
The Star said the parents have hired Michael Rader and Edward Robertson Jr. from the Leawood law firm Bartimus Frickleton Robertson.
State Sen. Greg Smith told Fox4KC, “Scott and Michele are extraordinary parents. Their children are the focus of their life. That’s tough to do with the demands they have, particularly being in the legislature. But you know, I mean, that was Scott’s universe: Kids. And to lose one is just tough.”
2. Scott Schwab Is a Republican Who Serves in The Kansas Legislature & His Wife Is a Pharmacist
According to the Kansas state Legislature, Schwab is a Republican who has served in the House since 2003.
The American Conservative Union gives him an 86% rating. Watch a previous interview with Scott Schwab here:
Political opponents and supporters united in wishing prayers for the family:
Schwab ran for a seat in the U.S. House in 2006, says Project Vote Smart. He has a BA in Communication from Fort Hayes State University.
The Schwabs are involved in community activities; their son’s youth baseball team wrote a tribute on Facebook.
“As a baseball family there are no words to describe the pain in our hearts to lose one of our baseball brothers,” wrote Kurt Dunn of the Kansas City Mudcats. “It hurts incredibly. Our deepest condolences to Scott and Michele during this time. Please keep the entire Schwab family in your thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of phone calls/texts from all our Mudcat families wanting to help is so incredibly heartwarming.”
3. The Schwabs Have Three Other Children in Addition to Caleb & One of Caleb’s Brothers Witnessed The Accident
Leslie Castaneda, of Kansas City, Kansas, told KMBC that Caleb’s brother saw the accident.
“The little boy said to a worker, ‘I just saw my little brother die because of one of your attractions,'” Castaneda said, according to the TV station. “(The boy) looked skinny. He shouldn’t have been on that ride.”
Castaneda told the TV station that the brother rushed away to find his mother “who was on another ride.”
Scott and Michele Schwab have three other children in addition to Caleb, says Project Vote Smart: Nathan, Alex, and Isaac.
Fox4KC says Caleb is the second of the couple’s sons. “Caleb was reportedly riding the slide with two adult women, with whom he was matched on the raft,” the TV station said. The family is from Olathe, Kansas.
Fox4KC says one of those women’s jaw was broken and the other had a broken face bone, but the husband of one of those women says they “do not know exactly what happened because it happened so fast. One of them had her eyes closed. One described it as the worst day of her life.”
4. The Parents Released a Public Statement After Caleb Died
In a statement, the parents asked for privacy and thanked people for an “outpouring of support and compassion,” said CBS2 New York.
“Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with. As we try to mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted knowing he believed in our Savior Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day,” the parents’ statement said, according to CBS2.
5. The Schwabs’ Church Set Up a Fundraising Site For The Family & The Ethics Commission is Studying Whether it Constitutes Campaign Finance Donations
The Go Fund Me site was started by Pastor Clint Sprague of LifeMisson Church, and the site says “The Schwabs are a part of the LifeMission Church family.
One friend wrote on Facebook, “Please pray for the Schwab family. We used to attend Life Church many moons ago (over 10yrs).” The woman said Michele Schwab “and I were in one of the first mommy groups there. So heartbreaking.”
The Associated Press reported that a Go Fund Me site set up to help the family pay for Caleb’s funeral expenses had already raised $15,000.
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission “was having a short meeting Monday to discuss whether state campaign finance laws apply to the effort,” said the AP, noting that lobbyists had contacted the commission because they wish to give money.