AP NEWS

Mexico arrests owner of school that collapsed in earthquake

May 11, 2019
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FILE - In thisSept. 19, 2018 file photo, people place floral crowns and bouquets on the perimeter wall of the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school, where 37 people were killed when the buildings collapsed, in Mexico City. Mexico City's attorney general said Saturday, May 11, 2019, that Mónica García Villegas, the owner of the school, was apprehended at a restaurant on the south side of the capital thanks to an email tip sent to authorities. García is expected to be charged with homicide. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police on Saturday arrested the owner of an elementary school that collapsed in Mexico City, killing 26 during a devastating magnitude 7.1 earthquake in September 2017.

Mexico City Attorney General Ernestina Godoy said that Mónica García Villegas was apprehended at a restaurant on the south side of the capital thanks to an email tip sent to authorities. García Villegas is expected to be charged with involuntary homicide.

Godoy attributed the arrest to a reward of 5 million pesos ($263,000) that authorities announced in late-April for information leading to García Villegas’ whereabouts. The tip line received information from 16 tipsters suggesting locations in at least six different states.

“We went to all of them,” Godoy said at a press conference.

The collapse of the Enrique Rebsamen school killed 19 children and seven adults and came to symbolize the corruption and impunity that plague Mexican construction.

Officials have said the owner built an apartment for herself on top of the school wing that fell, which may have played a role in the tragedy.

The search for survivors at Rebsamen captured the attention of people worldwide amid reports shortly after the quake that a girl was purportedly trapped alive in the school’s rubble. Authorities later announced that the girl never existed.

Godoy said there are still arrest warrants out for two construction overseers who authorized the additions at the school, despite insufficient steel or other supports to sustain the extra weight.

The earthquake killed 228 people in the capital and 141 others in nearby states.